Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Symptoms and Treatments

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Symptoms and Treatments

May 01, 2022

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep-related disorders. Sleep apnea happens when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts suddenly when sleeping. Usually, there are three types of sleep apnea, with obstructive sleep apnea being the most common. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the throat muscles relax too much and block the airway during sleep. You’ll stop breathing briefly and then start to breathe again. This can happen several times in an hour.

Snoring is the most common sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Due to the repeated sleep disruptions, you’ll probably not sleep well. Similarly, the condition can lower oxygen flow to your organs, causing uneven heart rhythms. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know they have this condition. However, someone you share a bed with might be able to notice you have a problem.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

You might have obstructive sleep apnea if you experience any or some of these symptoms:

  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth upon waking up
  • Sore throat when you wake up
  • Trouble concentrating, depression, and forgetfulness during the day
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Low libido
  • Snoring
  • Waking up suddenly while gasping for air or choking
  • Trouble waking in the morning
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Symptoms in children include:

  • Bed-wetting
  • Drooling or chocking
  • Sweating a lot at night
  • Problems at school
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Sluggishness or sleeping during the day
  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding
  • Restlessness in bed
  • Unusual sleep positions
  • Breathing that pauses or stops suddenly

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The primary cause of obstructive sleep apnea is airway blockage. However, some factors can contribute to or worsen the condition. These include:

  • Excess weight or obesity. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome is a breathing disorder found in people with obesity.
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic lung diseases such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Endocrine conditions like acromegaly, hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Neuromuscular conditions like stroke
  • Heart or kidney failure

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

You’re at a higher of developing sleep apnea if you:

  • Have asthma
  • Have diabetes
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are male
  • Are older
  • Have a family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoke
  • High blood pressure
  • High risk of stroke or heart failure
  • Have a thick or large neck
  • Have a large tongue
  • Have too much tissue at the back of the throat
  • Have smaller airways in the throat, nose, or mouth

If you or your loved ones have any of these symptoms, look for sleep apnea treatment near you or visit our dentist in Fort Atkinson.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated. Your doctor will try to determine the underlying cause and address it or/and find a way to prevent obstructive blockage during sleep. Common treatments include:

  • Weight loss
    Exercises and weight management are recommended to manage obstructive sleep apnea for people with excess weight or obesity. While it may not eliminate OSA, it decreases the severity of the condition. Apart from that, losing weight can also reduce blood pressure and improve the quality of your life.
  • Sleeping on the side
    Sleeping on the back can cause or worsen mild obstructive sleep apnea for some people. Sleeping on your side can help you breathe better and reduce the effects of sleep apnea.
  • Nasal sprays
    If the OSA results from nasal congestion or sinus problems, nasal sprays can help open the airway and help you breathe better during sleep.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
    If lifestyle changes don’t improve the OSA, your doctor can recommend a CPAP machine. The machine involves administrating positive airway through a face mask to keep the airways open when sleeping.
  • Bi-level positive airway pressure (BPAP)
    If CPAP therapy isn’t effective, your doctor can suggest a BPAP machine. This machine delivers two pressure in response to your breathing when sleeping: inhaled and exhaled pressure.
  • Surgery

Someone may need surgery if they have severe obstructive sleep apnea, and CPAP or BPAP therapies aren’t effective. Surgical options include:

  • Surgical removal of tissue is performed under general anesthesia and entails removing some tissues from the back of the mouth and top of the throat. If necessary, the adenoids and tonsils can also be removed.
  • Upper airway stimulation is a small thin impulse generator implanted under your skin in the upper chest. The device is designed to detect your breathing patterns and, if necessary, stimulate the nerve that controls tongue movements.
  • Jaw surgery (maxillomandibular advancement) involves moving the upper and lower parts of the jaw forward from the rest of the facial bones. Doing this enlarges the space behind the soft palate and tongue, making obstruction less likely.
  • Surgical opening in the neck (tracheostomy)

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for sleep apnea treatment in Fort Atkinson? Contact Rock River Dental to book your appointment today.