Breathing and sleeping are automatic functions that most healthy people take for granted. However, many individuals are affected by respiratory problems during sleep, such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, which affects 5-10% of the population, can have a significant impact on the health of individuals who suffer from it. But how do you know if you have sleep apnea? Our implantology and maxillofacial surgery specialists at Clinique MFML tell you everything you need to know.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a health problem that causes involuntary stops in breathing during sleep. These stops, which can last up to 10 seconds, can occur several times a night.
One of the causes of this disorder is a relaxation of the tongue and throat muscles. When these muscles relax, air can no longer circulate properly and breathing becomes difficult or even impossible.
Several factors can increase the risk of suffering from sleep apnea. For example, oral and maxillofacial surgeons often have to treat this breathing disorder in individuals with a receding chin, an undersized jaw or facial deformities. Obesity, family history, tonsil size, age, and other factors may also increase the risk of developing sleep apnea.
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can have several signs and symptoms. However, it is important to keep in mind that a person with this disorder does not always present all of the symptoms simultaneously.
In fact, an individual affected by sleep apnea may have very few symptoms, which sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose this respiratory problem. Among these, restless and non-restorative sleep, choking and suffocation during sleep, excessive sweating, snoring and respiratory arrest are fairly common signs in people with sleep apnea.
These signs are often followed by decreased energy and drowsiness during the day, memory loss, lack of concentration, waking headaches, and irritability or mood changes. If you notice any of these signs, it may be advisable to see a specialist for a health assessment.
What treatments are available for sleep apnea?
If you think you may have sleep apnea, there are several treatments available. Clinics that specialize in oral and maxillofacial surgery recommend orthognathic surgery when CPAP masks or mandibular advancement devices are not adequate or tolerable.
The goal of this treatment is to remove the soft tissue obstruction that causes obstructive apnea and to widen the airway by advancing the upper and lower jaws. In some cases, chin surgery may also be performed.
Treating sleep apnea to regain a better quality of life
In short, sleep apnea is a disorder that can greatly affect an individual’s health. However, with appropriate treatment, this respiratory problem can be resolved.
Contact us today if you believe you suffer from sleep apnea. At Clinique MFML, our oral and maxillofacial surgery specialists have the expertise to treat sleep apnea and perform the appropriate orthognathic surgery.