Published on November 26, 2022, Updated on November 29, 2022

When you have sleep apnea, your breathing repeatedly stops and resumes while you are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complicated sleep apnea are the three different kinds of the condition. Obesity and excess weight are the most prevalent causes of obstructive sleep apnea, which are linked to the soft tissues of the neck and the mouth. Laguna Dental Center and Dr. Ronald Ayzin has 5 years of experience in this treatment.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When your breathing repeatedly stops and resumes while you sleep, you have a severe sleep problem called sleep apnea. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds and several minutes, and they can happen up to 30 times each hour.

What are the Different Types of Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive, central, and complicated are three different types of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Airways that are partially or completely blocked while you sleep are the root cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The tongue and/or fatty tissues of the throat might slip back into the airways and obstruct breathing when a person is sleeping because the muscles of the throat relax. The most prevalent kind of sleep apnea, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), affects 4% of men and 2% of women.

  • Central Sleep Apnea

When the brain fails to instruct the muscles to control breathing, central sleep apnea (CSA) results. Central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological condition. People who have underlying disorders including Parkinson’s, stroke, chronic heart failure, or other problems affecting the brain stem are frequently affected.

  • Complex sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea symptoms combine to form complex sleep apnea. Patients with this kind may first mistakenly believe they have obstructive sleep apnea, which is also known as Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea. These individuals’ symptoms are not totally addressed by Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, unlike normal obstructive sleep apnea sufferers (CPAP). The inability of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to reduce symptoms would indicate that the patient has central sleep apnea (because CPAP is typically extremely efficient in treating obstructive sleep apnea).

Breathing issues continue in people with complex sleep apnea syndrome even when the airway blockage is addressed and treated, indicating that something other than collapsing throat muscles is also causing the apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Adult obstructive sleep apnea is most frequently brought on by weight and obesity, which is connected to the soft tissue of the mouth and throat.

Overweight people with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 (overweight) or a BMI of 30.0 or above make up more than half of those with obstructive sleep apnea (obese).

Obstructive sleep apnea is six times more likely to develop if you gain 10% of your body weight, but the risk decreases after age 60.

Obstructive sleep apnea is much more likely to occur in males with neck circumferences greater than 17 inches (43 centimeters) and in women with circumferences greater than 15 inches (38 centimeters).

Other causes of obstructive sleep apnea include.

  • Medical conditions that congest upper airways
  • Excess growth due to hormones (acromegaly)
  • A narrow throat
  • A round head
  • Deviated septum (problem with nose structure)
  • Allergies
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Smoking
  • Hypothyroidism

However, some Central Sleep Apnea is linked to a medical condition, another illness, or the environment, as detailed in the cases below. Doctors are unable to pinpoint the primary cause of Central Sleep Apnea.

  • When sleeping above 15,000 feet.
  • Medications such as fentanyl or hydrocodone.
  • Kidney failure, heart failure, stroke

Complex sleep apnea has uncertain specific causes. The condition may have a number of causes, not all of which are connected to treatment with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.

  • Some complicated sleep apneas are triggered by low carbon dioxide levels.
  • Complex sleep apnea is more likely to occur as a result of some sleep disorder therapies.
  • Prior to receiving therapy, certain individuals with severe or more widespread sleep apnea are more likely to develop complicated sleep apnea.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

There are several signs of sleep apnea, some of which are more obvious than others. Each form of sleep apnea has the typical symptoms listed below.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most typical signs of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring and abrupt awakenings while gasping for air. Additional signs of obstructive sleep apnea are listed below.

  • Difficulty staying focused during the day
  • Changes in mood, such as depression or irritability
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Reduced libido
  • Tiredness that lasts all day
  • Having a dry mouth or a painful throat when you wake up

Central Sleep Apnea Symptoms

People with central sleep apnea frequently snore, which indicates some degree of airway obstruction. However, compared to obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea does not cause as much snoring. The following are typical central sleep apnea indications and symptoms.

  • Morning headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Instances of non-breathing or irregular breathing during sleep
  • Mood changes
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied with breathlessness
  • Hypersomnia

Complex Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Symptoms of complex sleep apnea are similar to obstructive and central sleep apnea. The patient may experience the following symptoms.

  • Observed instances of non-breathing or aberrant breathing patterns when sleeping
  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia
  • Having a dry mouth or a painful throat when you wake up
  • Excessive drowsiness during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • Having a painful throat or dry mouth when you wake up

Who Gets Sleep Apnea?

Children and adults alike can develop sleep apnea. This illness is thought to affect 100 million individuals globally. 25% of those with mild obstructive sleep apnea do not experience either subjective or objective drowsiness, and 75–80% of these instances went undiagnosed.

Sleep Apnea in Adults

Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 26% of individuals between the ages of 30 and 60, and the prevalence rises sharply with age. While 3% of women in the same age group are likely to have sleep apnea, 10% of males are likely to have it. In those aged 50 to 70, sleep apnea is expected to affect 17% of males and 9% of women.

Sleep Apnea in Kids

Children can also experience sleep apnea, according to research from the Sleep Foundation. Obstructive sleep apnea is more prevalent in younger people than central sleep apnea. OSA, which often affects children between the ages of 2 and 6 but can happen at any age, is thought to affect 1% to 5% of children.

The symptoms that children may encounter instead of excessive daytime drowsiness include hyperactivity, behavioral issues, and learning difficulties.

Both adults and toddlers snore often. Children may also experience sleepwalking, bedwetting, and perspiration during night. The growth and development of children with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea may be affected.

Make an Appointment with Dr. Ronald Ayzin at Laguna Dental Center to see if you have Sleep Apnea

Schedule An Appointment with Dr. Ronald Ayzin at Laguna Dental Center to see if you have Sleep Apnea.

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What are the Complications that Sleep Apnea Can Cause?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem. The following list includes complications for this ailment.

  • High blood pressure or cardiac issues. The cardiovascular system is strained and blood pressure is raised when sleep apnea causes abrupt drops in blood oxygen levels. Your risk of hypertension increases if you have obstructive sleep apnea.Additionally, having obstructive sleep apnea may increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or abnormal heartbeats like atrial fibrillation. If you have heart problems, frequent episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) might result in abrupt death from an erratic heartbeat.
  • Type 2 diabetes. The likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance increases if you have sleep apnea.
  • Liver problems. People who suffer sleep apnea are more prone to have abnormal liver function test findings and to have scarring in their livers (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).
  • Daytime fatigue. Regular, restorative sleep is impossible due to the frequent awakenings brought on by sleep apnea, which causes severe daytime drowsiness, exhaustion, and irritability.
  • Sleep-deprived partners. Snoring may make it difficult for people to sleep peacefully next to one another. A spouse having to sleep in a different room or even on a different floor of the house is quite uncommon.

What are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

The three main risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea are obesity, male gender, and family history of snoring or apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to develop when a number of factors are present. Others are brought on by aging or certain lifestyle decisions, while some are hereditary.

  • Large tonsils
  • Small lower jaw and other facial configurations
  • Acromegaly (high levels of growth hormone)
  • Taking alcoholic beverages before bed
  • A large neck’s circumference
  • Hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone)
  • Post-menopausal (for women)

Central Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

You are more likely to develop central sleep apnea if certain conditions exist.

  • Central sleep apnea risk may be increased by sleeping at a higher altitude than usual.
  • Some persons with obstructive sleep apnea who use continuous positive airway pressure develop central sleep apnea (CPAP). The term “treatment-emergent central sleep apnea” refers to this condition. It is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Older adults, especially those over the age of 60, are more likely to have central sleep apnea.
  • Brain disorders like stroke or brain tumors can make it harder for the brain to control breathing.
  • Central sleep apnea is more common in those who have atrial fibrillation, an erratic heartbeat, or congestive heart failure, which results in insufficient blood flow to the body.

Complex Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

The following are typical risk factors for complex sleep apnea.

  • systolic heart failure
  • atrial fibrillation
  • use of opioid drugs
  • cerebrovascular diseases

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Based on your indications and symptoms, an examination, and tests, your doctor will make an assessment of your condition. For more testing, he or she could suggest that you speak with a sleep specialist.

Your doctor will check the back of your throat, mouth, and nose during the physical examination to see if there is any extra tissue or abnormalities. In addition to measuring your waist and neck, your doctor may also check your blood pressure.

To diagnose your condition, determine its severity, and plan your therapy, a sleep specialist might do further tests. As part of the evaluation, you could spend the night at a sleep center where your breathing and other biological functions will be observed.

Sleep apnea diagnosis may be conducted using the following tests.

  • Nocturnal polysomnography. During the sleep apnea test, the patient is linked to apparatus that keeps track of their breathing patterns, heart rate, brain activity, arm and leg movement, and blood oxygen levels while they are sleeping.
  • Home sleep test. Doctors will provide polysomnography to patients at home in order to diagnose OSA. During this examination, measurements are made of airflow, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, maybe limb movements, and snoring intensity.

How to Treat Sleep Apnea?

There are several non-invasive sleep apnea treatment methods. Here are a few methods for treating sleep apnea.

Conservative Treatments

Patients with moderate sleep apnea may benefit from conservative therapy. The techniques below lessen the severity of the symptoms of sleep apnea, which may be influenced by a variety of lifestyle factors.

  • Quit Drinking and Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Avoid taking any drugs that might make your sleep apnea symptoms worse.
  • Lose weight
  • Get enough sleep
  • Try steroid nasal spray


Mechanical Therapy

Mechanical treatments make use of non-invasive sleep apnea machine to prevent obstructive sleep apnea.

  • CPAP Device
  • ASV
  • PAP Therapy
  • BiPAP
  • Auto-CPAP

Inspire Sleep Apnea

A neuro-stimulator with a pressure-sensing lead in the chest pocket of the FDA-approved implanted upper airway known as Inspire Sleep Apnea monitors the patient’s breathing. The patient turns on the device before bed to stimulate the throat muscles while sleeping. Inspire is an alternative to CPAP, which works inside the patient’s body while sleeping.

According to a clinical trial, 66% of study participants improved their sleep apnea by 79% and dramatically decreased snoring and daytime tiredness after using Inspire for sleep apnea for a year.

Most insurance companies cover Inspire, therefore the price is based on how much your insurance company will pay for it and your out-of-pocket expenses.

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator

An alternative to CPAP known as hypoglossal nerve stimulation includes implanting a medical device that stimulates the hypoglossal nerve in time with the patient’s breathing. To keep the patient’s airways open while they sleep, the sleep apnea implant is stimulated.

Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

A mandibular advancement device (MAD) is a mouthguard for sleep apnea that reduces snoring by physically moving the jaw forward and opening up the airway. The use of MADs is advised for the treatment of moderate sleep apnea since it helps to alleviate symptoms by advancing the jaw as you sleep. The term “MAD” stands for “mandibular Advancement Device” (MAD).

Sleep Apnea Surgery

Doctors may advise surgery if none of the aforementioned treatments are successful. The sort of surgery you receive will depend on the severity of your sleep apnea and your general health. There are various surgical procedures available to treat sleep apnea.

  • Mandibular/Maxillary Advancement Surgery
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Nasal surgery
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Somnoplasty

How to Live with Sleep Apnea?

Sleeping with sleep apnea may be challenging, unsettling, and sometimes hazardous because it is a disorder that won’t go away on its own. Fortunately, there are actions you may do to control the illness and raise your quality of life.

  • Losing some weight may possibly be able to treat sleep apnea.
  • Get as much restful sleep as you can.
  • Till sleep apnea is addressed, refrain from working heavy machinery or driving.
  • Stay away from alcohol and tobacco.
  • The tongue and soft tissues restrict the airways when you sleep on your back, so avoid doing it.
  • To reduce the symptoms, use nasal or oral appliances.

FAQs for Sleep Apnea

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

Yes. Even though it's rare, untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause a person to die while they're asleep. If Obstructive Sleep Apnea is left untreated, it may interfere with the cardiovascular and neural systems' proper operation, leading to irregular heartbeats and other issues that may cause cardiac death.

Can You Take a Sleep Apnea Test at Home?

Yes. Testing for sleep apnea at home is an easy, affordable way to find out whether you have breathing problems. A straightforward breathing monitor that tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing exertion while you sleep is used in a home sleep apnea test.

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