People with sleep apnea stop breathing as they sleep. It can happen anywhere from a few to hundreds of times per night. When breathing stops, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen it needs, which is why it is such a dangerous condition. Sleep apnea requires the diagnosis of a physician.
There are three types of sleep apnea: Obstructive, which is the most common; Central; and Mixed sleep apnea, which is a combination of the first two.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway. Soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
With central sleep apnea the airway isn’t blocked. Instead, the respiratory center of the brain that control breathing don’t work right, and breathing is interrupted.
Millions of Americans are afflicted with sleep apnea, and it can affect anyone at any age. But the most common patients are overweight men who are over forty, and have a large neck with large tonsils and tongue. It also tends to run in families.
Sleep apnea puts people at risk of a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart failure, and heart disease.
If you or someone you love has sleep apnea, or even if you suspect it, talk to your doctor. Once it has been diagnosed, it can be treated at Kenneth Hovden DDS in Daly City. We also provide traditional dental services.