Many people experience breathing problems during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder among patients. Sleep apnea can have a significant impact on one’s life if not treated. There are many symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that one should look out for in order to get the proper treatment. At the Jaw Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles, you can meet with an expert sleep apnea doctor to determine the cause of your condition, obstructive sleep apnea. You can also learn about the available sleep apnea surgery options.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

obstructive-sleep-apneaSleep apnea is a condition in which one experiences shallow breathing or a cessation in breath while sleeping. For some people, a stop in breathing can happen many times during sleep.

Patients who have obstructive sleep apnea, also referred to as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, experience repeated instances of either a full or partial blocking of the upper airway while sleeping.

When this happens, the diaphragm and chest muscles work extra hard to open the airway so air can travel to the lungs. You can tell when someone resumes breathing because there is a loud gasp or snort along with a jerk in the body. This condition can have a significant negative and have been associated with irregularities in the heart’s rhythm, hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Most of the time, when an individual has obstructive sleep apnea, he or she does not notice a disruption in sleep. Usually, the person’s partner or someone who sleeps in the same vicinity will notice when the person snorts or gasps at night. Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Fatigue or sleepiness during the day
  • A sore throat or mouth dryness once awake
  • Morning headaches
  • Snoring
  • Sleep restlessness
  • Night sweats
  • Irritability, forgetfulness or depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Gasping or choking that causes one to wake at night
  • Difficulty awakening

If you notice any of these sleep apnea signs and symptoms, it’s best to meet with a sleep apnea doctor or jaw surgeon for sleep apnea testing and relief.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The majority of individuals who experience some type of sleep apnea are those who are overweight or obese. Craniofacial and upper airway soft tissue abnormalities also increase the likelihood of having or developing OSA. Sleep apnea symptoms are much more common in men than in women. The risk of one developing sleep apnea also increases with age and genetic factors. People are more likely to develop sleep apnea if they are African American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic. Sleep apnea symptoms in women are more likely to develop after menopause. Additionally, people who have thicker necks or smaller airways have a higher chance of getting obstructive sleep apnea. Smoking also increases one’s risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatments and Sleep Apnea Surgery

Depending on the severity of each case, sleep apnea treatments can range from behavioral changes, sleeping devices (CPAP, BIPAP, and Jaw repositioning oral devices) to surgery. These can alleviate daytime symptoms commonly felt by sleep apnea sufferers. Treating sleep apnea can also help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk for heart disease.

Surgery for sleep apnea can treat severe sleep apnea symptoms by:

  1. removing excess tissue that obstructs the airflow to the lungs from the nose and throat
  2. repositioning the upper and lower jaws to open up the airways and lead to normal breathing again.

At the Los Angeles Jaw Surgery Center, an orthognathic surgeon can make a sleep apnea diagnosis to determine if you have certain factors that are contributing to an obstruction in your airway. For example, if you have a large tongue or weak lower jaw, surgery may be the best option for you.

Contact a Los Angeles Sleep Apnea Doctor

If you or your partner notice disruptions in your sleep because of an obstruction in your airway, contact us for a consultation to see what the best possible treatments are for your case. Obstructive sleep apnea can be cured with the right diagnosis and treatment. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please call (888) 391-3205 or fill out our online contact form.

Next, learn about TMJ disorders.