Perhaps you or a loved one has sleep apnea and you’re wondering how to help yourself or this other person. Once you have a better understanding of the cause of sleep apnea, you’ll better understand how to address it, and we can help here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Reach out to us today to learn everything we can tell you about the condition, it’s cause, and how you can treat it with our help.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a possibly serious sleep disorder that occurs when, at night, a person’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Loud snoring and daytime fatigue are common symptoms of sleep apnea. However, it can be vital to treat sleep apnea, as it can lead to fatal health conditions in some cases. It may also lead to behavioral issues in children. There are different kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed, and each has their own causes.
So what is the main cause of sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is most common. Obstructive sleep apnea is usually related to excess weight and obesity which are associated with soft tissue in the back of the throat. During sleep, this soft tissue can obstruct the back of the throat, and this is what can cause obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also common for the obstruction to be caused by a person’s tongue or throat muscles, or the person’s lower jaw falling back toward the throat.
The other kinds of sleep apnea are central and mixed sleep apnea. The former occurs when a person’s brain isn’t sending the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, while mixed sleep apnea is caused by a mix of central and obstructive issues.
Sleep apnea definitely isn’t a simple condition. There are different possible causes and possibly other factors involved too.
Who is at risk of getting sleep apnea?
Older and overweight men are at the greatest risk of developing sleep apnea, but some women and even some children can develop it too. In fact, sleep apnea is quite common in families, as genetics may be a factor. There are other factors involved too, like health and lifestyle factors, and not all of these factors have been identified by researchers.
It’s common for a jaw joint disorder (TMJ disorder) to cause or complicate sleep apnea. This is something of great interest to us here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, and it isn’t commonly addressed by many healthcare professionals. Many professionals will suggest CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, and although this will work for many patients, it may not work for many others. There may be a better option for you.
How is sleep apnea treated?
At our clinic, we can thoroughly assess a patient to determine the cause of a particular case of sleep apnea. Once we understand the cause, we can proceed with treatment, and quite often the best course for treatment is oral appliance therapy. It works by relaxing the tissue, tongue, throat muscles, and jaw to help them rest naturally so a patient can breathe without obstruction. The therapy is a proven method approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. We provide oral appliance therapy here at our clinic.
To learn about your particular case of sleep apnea, its possible cause, and what we can do to help, reach out to our clinic today for a consultation. Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders has multiple locations in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin. We ask that you please visit our Locations page for these locations’ addresses and contact information, or you can call us so we can set you up with a consultation at the clinic nearest you.
We look forward to hearing from and helping you soon!