Types of Sleep Apnea, Its Diagnosis, and Treatment

Are you yawning again? Are you consistently hitting the snooze button or constantly fighting the urge to nod off? If you have such symptoms, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Your dentist plays a vital role in diagnosing, risks, and treating sleep apnea. Learn more about sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

This is a serious sleep disorder in which you stop and start breathing repeatedly. If you feel tired or snore loudly even after a whole night’s sleep, you might also suffer from sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea. They include:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This occurs when your muscles in the back of the throat relax. These muscles usually support the tonsils, soft palate, the side walls of your throat, and the piece of tissue hanging from the uvula and the tongue.

When these muscles relax, the airway narrows or closes when you’re breathing in. This leads to not getting enough air which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. The brain senses you cannot breathe and rouses you from sleep, so you reopen your airway. Unfortunately, this awakening is so brief that you don’t even remember it.

You might choke, snort or gasp. This behavior can repeat itself for five to 30 minutes or even for more than an hour all night. This impairs your ability to reach the restful phases of sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea

This is a less common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when your brain is not transmitting signals to your breathing muscles. This means that you don’t make any effort to breathe for a short period. As a result, you might awaken with shortness of breath or have difficulty staying asleep or getting sleep.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

This condition is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It occurs when someone has both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

If you feel like you have sleep apnea, visit our dentist in Wall Township. They’ll offer you treatment that will ease your symptoms and help prevent heart problems or other complications.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

You might experience the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea overlapping, making it difficult to determine your type. But the most common symptoms of both include:

  • Experiencing morning headache
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Having episodes in which you stop breathing when you’re asleep. Another person would report this
  • Loud snoring
  • Irritability

Since obstructive sleep apnea is the typical type of sleep apnea, many of these symptoms lie under this type. So, if you experience some of these symptoms, you should look for obstructive sleep apnea treatment near you.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

Our doctor in Susan J. Curley DDS will evaluate your symptoms and sleep history, which you can share with the help of a person you share a bed or household with if possible.

The doctor will help you determine your need for further evaluation. The evaluation involves the doctor monitoring your overnight breathing and other body functions during sleep at our clinic.

Home sleep testing might also apply. Your doctor will provide you with simplified tests that you’ll use at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests measure your airflow, blood oxygen level, breathing patterns, and heart rate.

If you get abnormal results, your doctor will prescribe a therapy without further testing. However, if you have obstructive sleep apnea, the doctor might refer you to a throat, ear, or nose doctor to evaluate your blockage in the throat and nose. Also, an evaluation by a neurologist or a heart doctor might be necessary to check for cases of central sleep apnea.


If you have milder cases of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend you change your lifestyle by quitting smoking and losing weight. In case of nasal allergies, your doctor may recommend treatment for the allergies.

If these measures don’t help improve your signs and symptoms or if your sleep apnea is severe, other treatment options are available.

Specific devices help open up a blocked airway. Also, surgery might be necessary in other cases.

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