Sleep apnea is a common disorder involving repeated breathing interruptions during sleep, often caused by structural abnormalities or brain malfunctions. It occurs when the upper airway is blocked, leading to shallow breathing or pauses. Risk factors include enlarged tonsils, obesity, cardiovascular issues, smoking, family history, nasal congestion, and relaxed throat muscles.
There are different types of sleep apnea:
Symptoms include loud snoring, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, and abrupt awakenings. Diagnosis involves a physical examination, symptom review, and diagnostic tests. Treatment options range from lifestyle changes to devices like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks. Surgical options include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and maxillomandibular advancement. Custom oral appliances can also be used for treatment.
Snoring is caused by vibrations of the soft palate when the airway is partially obstructed during sleep, often by throat tissue. While usually harmless, it can indicate health issues and disrupt sleep for individuals and partners. Causes include nasal congestion, alcohol consumption, smoking, sleep apnea, and mouth/jaw abnormalities. Obese individuals may experience airway constriction due to throat fat.
Symptoms vary but may include noisy sleep, morning sore throat, dry mouth, restless sleep, and high blood pressure. Diagnosis involves a physical examination and sometimes X-rays or CT scans. Treatments range from lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications to corrective mouthpieces, nasal dilators, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In severe cases, surgical options like uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or rhinoplasty may be considered.