Sleep Apnea Specialist

Family Dentistry with a Gentle Touch

Ann Mudd, DMD

Dentist located in Louisville, KY

Sleep apnea is a relatively rare sleep disorder that interferes with your breathing patterns while you sleep. If you want to have a better night sleep, Ann B. Mudd, DMD Family Dentistry with a Gentle Touch offers referral services for sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment. Call the Louisville, Kentucky, office today or schedule a consultation using the online booking tool.

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes repeated pauses in your breathing while you sleep. The lack of oxygen can make it difficult to properly reach deep REM sleep, so people with sleep apnea often wake up feeling exhausted.

They tend to find themselves dragging through the day, even if they think they got a “full night’s sleep.”

In many cases, people with sleep apnea live with it for years without realizing they have a problem, which is usually until a sleep partner notices pauses in breathing throughout the night.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea

This is the most common type, and occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep and obstruct the airway.

Once the airway closes, you’re briefly forced “awake” to gasp for air and reopen the airway, but most people fall asleep right away and may not even realize that their sleep has been interrupted.

The same pattern can continue multiple times throughout the night, making it almost impossible to get an adequate amount of sleep. One of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is snorting, gasping, or waking up choking for air.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea has the same effects as obstructive sleep apnea, but it’s more rare and is caused when the brain fails to send adequate signals to the muscles that regulate breathing.

If you have central sleep apnea, you may wake up feeling short of breath and have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

  

What causes sleep apnea?

There are several risk factors and underlying health issues that can contribute to and increase the risk for obstructive and central sleep apnea:

  • Obesity
  • Narrow airway
  • Gender (tends to be more common in men)
  • Age (risk increases with age)
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Alcohol or sedative use
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion/obstruction

 

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The most common symptom of sleep apnea is loud, chronic snoring, gasping or choking for air, and pauses in your breathing throughout the night as seen by another person.

Because sleep apnea doesn’t let you get an adequate amount of rest, there are also a number of secondary symptoms and possible health complications.

Other signs that you might be suffering from sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up with dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble focusing

Sleep apnea can also increase your risk for serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and high blood pressure.

 

How is sleep apnea treated?

There are different treatment options available depending on the type of sleep apnea you have and the cause.

A common form of treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device that sends oxygen through the airway while you sleep to keep it open and ensure that you are getting sufficient oxygen.

Lifestyle modifications like weight loss can also help to relieve sleep apnea if the underlying cause is obesity. Dr. Mudd can refer you to a specialist to find the solution that’s right for you.

If you’ve been diagnosed or suspect that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call the office today or schedule an appointment online to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.