Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway can become closed off while sleeping. It can be caused by large tonsils, excessive tissue in the neck and a large tongue. The muscles of the mouth and neck collapse as we relax during sleep and this can lead to closure of the airway. When this obstruction called "apnea" occurs there is no air passing to the lungs. The brain responds by causing the sleeping person to wake and take a deep breath.
Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed by the number of apnea events that occur during a sleep cycle. A patient will be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe depending on the number of apnea events counted. The diagnosis is made during a sleep study.
Why is the the diagnosis of sleep apnea important?
Sleep apnea is a serious and even life-threatening condition. The risks of undiagnosed apnea include heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and decreased libido. In addition, it can lead to daytime drowsiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity and relationship problems. Unfortunately, with an increase in global obesity sleep apnea is on the rise.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons treat obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment will depend on the severity of the diagnosis. Treatment can range from oral devices, air pressure machines and surgery. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have extensive training and experience to provide a number of surgical options for treatment.
If you or any of your family has been diagnosed with sleep apnea book a consultation at Face2Face Surgery to find out your treatment options! For more information click here.
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