Are Sleep Apnea and Breathing Problems Are Connected?

Are Sleep Apnea and Breathing Problems Are Connected?

December 1, 2021
Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue falls back and blocks your airway, enlarged tonsils, or a small jaw, making it difficult for you to breathe properly. Did you know that some people with sleep apnea also have breathing problems? Sleep apnea occurs when the airways narrow or becomes blocked during sleep. People affected by this condition often snore loudly, experience daytime fatigue, and have an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. A person can be diagnosed with sleep apnea if they meet the following conditions:
  • If they snore at least five times per hour
  • Having an excessive amount of throat tissue
  • Feeling tired after waking up even though they had enough sleep.
If you think you may be experiencing these symptoms, contact a sleep apnea doctor near you for more information about treatment options.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing stops periodically while asleep, causing them to wake up frequently during the night and experience poor quality of rest. Sleep apnea can also cause fatigue throughout the day because you aren’t getting enough oxygen when sleeping. Sleep apnea is a serious condition, and if left untreated, it can lead to other health problems. People with sleep apnea experience periods where their breathing stops or becomes very shallow for ten seconds or more throughout the night. Sleep apnea sufferers have been found to have shallow breaths during sleep that last as long as 30-45 seconds at a time, and they often snore.

What are the Types of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can be primary or secondary. Primary sleep apnea is due to a problem within the person’s respiratory system. In other words, the muscles and tissues that make breathing possible are not working properly. Primary Sleep Apnea falls into 2 categories: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Central Sleep Apnea(CSA) In OSA sleep apnea, there is a complete or partial blockage of the upper airway while sleeping. This blockage can lead to apneas, pauses in breathing while asleep. In Central sleep apnea, the brain does not send the signals needed to control breathing. There is also complex sleep apnea that is a combination of the two. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliances, and weight loss are used to treat OSA sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea treatment may include medications or surgery. Secondary sleep apnea is a result of a medical condition like thyroid problems.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Breathing Problems?

Many people with sleep apnea also experience problems, such as snoring, daytime fatigue, and even frequent headaches. Poor sleep quality can also cause health issues, like heart failure, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes. However, a study performed in January 2009 reported that sleep apnea and breathing problems are connected. It has been observed that sleep apnea patients are more likely to suffer from breathing problems during waking hours. Sleep Apnea can trigger or increase the risk of respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The dentist can recommend Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines and other breathing treatments to mitigate sleep apnea symptoms.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Sleep Apnea treatments vary depending on the severity and type. They can include:
  • Weight loss
  • Removal of nasal obstruction or adenoids
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. UPPPwhich involves removing the tonsils, soft palate, excess tissue, and other obstructions in the throat to improve airflow.
  • CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure assists in airflow at certain pressures.
  • Oral appliances that hold the jaw forward, preventing it from obstructing airflow. Sleep Apnea may also be treated with nasal oxygen, again to improve airflow.
  • Surgery can be done when these other treatments have failed to mitigate the problem. The primary purpose of the surgical procedure is to open the airway through the mouth and nose.
Sleep Apnea is a serious condition that must be monitored by a physician. If left unchecked, the sleep disorder can cause high blood pressure and sleep deprivation, both of which are very dangerous conditions that have life-threatening consequences.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit South Florida ENT Associates for more information about sleep apnea and how you can treat it.