Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects billions of people all over the world. People with sleep apnea often complain of daytime sleepiness, headaches, and depression. The sad thing is most aren’t even aware that they have the sleeping disorder.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When the muscles in the back of the throat start to relax, it narrows your breathing passageway, so much so that it is impossible to breathe in. This signals your brain telling you to wake up so that you can catch a breath. People with sleep apnea can wake up as many as 30 times every hour all night. Not only does this cause daytime sleepiness, but it can also impair your ability to lead a normal life. Sleep apnea can also be life threatening.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common OSA happens when the throat muscles relax.

Central Sleep Apnea

Less common than OSA CSA occurs when the brain isn’t sending the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Emergent central sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and CSA.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Anyone can be affected by sleep apnea, even children. However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk.

Too Much Weight

People who are overweight or obese are four times more likely to have sleep apnea as fat deposits can obstruct breathing in the upper airways, but not everyone who is heavy has sleep apnea.

Neck Size

Women who have a neck larger than 15” around and men who have a neck circumference larger than 17 inches are at risk for sleep apnea as the fat deposits restrict the ability to breathe.

Narrow Airways

Some people are born with small airways. If you still have your adenoids and tonsils and they become enlarged, your airways will narrow making it difficult to catch a breath at night. This is common in children who suffer from sleep apnea. Adults who still have adenoids and tonsils may also be affected by sleep apnea.

Being Male

If you are a man you are two times as likely to develop sleep apnea, however, overweight women and women in menopause are also at risk for sleep apnea.


Although it still unclear why, it seems that sleep apnea occurs much more often in seniors.

Family History

You may be at risk if other members of your family suffer from sleep apnea.

Alcohol, Tranquilizers, Sedatives, Smoking

These substances will relax the muscles in the back of your throat making it hard to breathe. If you take any medications or drink, you may be at risk for sleep apnea.

If you have had a stroke, have a heart disorder or use any type of narcotic pain medication you could be at risk for central sleep apnea.

TMJ Disorder Signs

  • Jaw tenderness or pain
  • Pain in your jaw joints
  • Facial pain
  • Difficulty or pain when you chew
  • Earaches or pain around your ears
  • Have a hard time opening and closing your mouth
  • Here a clicking sound when you chew or open and close your mouth

Orange Coast Cosmetic Dentistry recommends custom-made mouth guards or oral splints to help ease the problems associated with temporomandibular joint disorder. Custom made mouth guards help keep your temporomandibular joints stable while you sleep and can even help correct the problem.

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