What Causes Sleep Apnea and How to Get Rid of It?

What Causes Sleep Apnea and How to Get Rid of It?

Sep 01, 2022

Do you drag your feet every morning because of fatigue? Or is your throat always on fire when you wake up? If this is your typical day, then you should consider visiting our dentist in Holmdel for treatment; there’s a chance that you have sleep apnea.

Poor sleep will disrupt every aspect of your day. Besides disrupting your schedule, your health will deteriorate since the body is designed to rest for at least six hours. Plus, the tissue in your body needs enough oxygen for optimal functioning. Sadly, this is not an option if you suffer from sleep apnea.

So, What’s Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects scores of people, while statistics reveal that there could be millions more who are living with the condition and have no clue.

Loud snoring is often mistaken to indicate that someone has sleep apnea. However, loud snoring doesn’t indicate that you have sleep apnea. You can snore and not even have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is potentially a life-threatening condition since it can cause multiple complications. The disorder occurs when you experience interrupted breathing while asleep.

If you have sleep apnea, you will experience breathing pauses throughout the night that last almost 20 seconds. The pauses can happen almost 100 times an hour. Therefore, your entire body will be oxygen deprived throughout the night.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The causes of sleep apnea can vary. Therefore, sleep apnea is categorized according to the cause, and they three main types:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – The most prevalent type of sleep apnea that happens when the back of your throat or airways are physically blocked, thus causing temporary breathing pauses
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA) – This is less common and occurs when there is an issue with the brain’s system for regulating the respiratory muscles, causing you to have slower and shallower breathing
  • Mixed sleep apnea – This is quite rare and occurs when a patient has both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing sleep apnea, and they are:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hormone abnormalities
  • Family history
  • Anatomical issues such as poor positioning of your jaw or neck
  • Obesity
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Nasal congestion

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

All the types of sleep apnea have similar symptoms, such as:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Disrupted breathing that may last for a minute
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Excessive drowsiness or daytime sleepiness

If you have OSA, you might experience the following additional symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Morning sore throat
  • Waking up frequently to urinate (nocturia)

The biggest challenge with sleep apnea is that most symptoms occur when you are asleep. Therefore, you may need to ask a family member or a roommate to help you keep an eye out for the symptoms.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

There are wonderful sleep apnea treatment options that can be used to deal with the various levels of sleep apnea. If our dentist near you finds out that you have mild obstructive sleep apnea, you may receive the following recommendation:

Lifestyle Changes

  • Lose excess weight to help reduce the size of your neck, which can obstruct your airways
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exercise regularly to ease some of the sleep apnea symptoms
  • Try sleeping with your abdomen rather than on your back or side
  • Get treatment for nasal congestion
  • Avoid certain medications such as sleeping pills or even alcohol, which are known to cause the muscles at your throat to relax


If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, or if the above lifestyle changes don’t work or are ineffective, our dentist may recommend the following:

Oral Appliances

Oral appliances are useful in treating sleep apnea. They are different from the usual positive airway pressure devices since these appliances are smaller and are worn just like mouth guards. Close to 100 different types of oral appliances can be used to treat sleep apnea.

These appliances prevent the collapse of the muscles or soft tissue or the tongue at the back of the mouth from blocking the airways. Other devices will move the jaw to prevent the collapse of the soft tissue.

If oral appliances are ineffective, you might have to undergo surgery.

In any case, contact us at Dipika T. Shah, DDS, LLC, to schedule an appointment.

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