Without proper sleep apnea treatment from a dentist , sleep apnea can be a serious, and even life-threatening, sleep disorder. The frequent sleep interruptions resulting from sleep apnea can cause an irregular heartbeat and increased blood pressure, which increase your risk of suffering a stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and obesity. Here is a look at the primary causes of sleep apnea.
Smaller than Average Windpipe
The size of your windpipe is affected by the bone structure of your head and neck. If your windpipe is smaller than average, it is more difficult for your airway to remain open while you’re lying down. When you lie down, more pressure is placed on the muscles of your neck, windpipe, and tongue. If your tongue and tonsils are larger than your windpipe, they can obstruct your airway when they are under pressure, causing sleep apnea .
Windpipe Obstruction Due to Obesity
As you gain weight, the fatty tissues in the walls of your windpipe will thicken, and causes your airway to narrow. As the muscles of your throat relax during sleep, your airway will narrow even further, leading to windpipe obstruction and breathing difficulties. When your brain senses your inability to breathe, it will briefly awaken you to restore breathing.
The Brain Fails to Transmit Signals to Muscles
Though it is rare, sleep apnea can sometimes be caused by your brain’s failure to transmit the right signals to the muscles that are responsible for controlling your breathing. This can occur as a result of the aging process. Your body will make no effort to breathe for a brief period of time, and you may awaken feeling short of breath, and have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep.
If you’re in need of sleep apnea treatment in Chicago , you should visit one of our experienced dentists at University Associates in Dentistry. We recommend oral appliance therapy using custom-fitted oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP or corrective surgery. To schedule a dental consultation with one of our dentists to discuss your sleep apnea treatment options, call us today at (312) 704-5511.