What is sleep apnea? Skip to main content

What is sleep apnea?

A woman with sleep apnea yawning and holding a full coffee cup

According to the American Medical Association, approximately 30 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that frequently interrupts a patient’s natural breathing pattern while they are asleep.

Depending on the cause of the disease, oral surgery may be recommended as a treatment option if more conservative options such as losing weight, wearing a mouthpiece, or using a CPAP machine do not work.

Always tired

The most common symptom of sleep apnea is a constant feeling of fatigue throughout the day. Patients with severe cases can experience mental fog, memory issues and impaired cognitive functions, leading to poor decision making, clumsiness and delayed reaction time.

Common risk factors

While men are more likely to experience sleep apnea than women, the condition can affect both genders, especially those who present one or more of the following risk factors:

●     Obesity

●     40+ years old

●     Large tonsils or tongue

●     Sinus problems

●     Issues with mandible size

Surgery is a last resort

To treat sleep apnea, an oral surgeon will perform a full examination to identify the exact structural cause if there is a physical obstruction. Noninvasive treatment options will be applied first to try and avoid surgery if possible. If nonsurgical treatments are not successful, a number of procedures are available depending on the cause of the sleep apnea.

Get help with your sleep apnea

The first step towards resolving your sleep apnea and getting a full night’s rest is to speak with a medical professional.

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