Sleep apnea: what role can your jaw play?

Today, an increasing number of people suffer from sleep disorders. We find it difficult to have undisturbed and restful nights, which can have real long-term negative effects on our health. This is the case with sleep apnea, which can become very annoying and debilitating. What can we learn from this?

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when an individual’s breathing is interrupted while sleeping. This means that breathing stops completely or partially several times during the night and both the brain and the body run out of oxygen.

People who suffer from this syndrome often experience the same discomforts. That is, a feeling of choking, fatigue or headache when they wake up. They also find that their throat is painful and dry. All these symptoms often result in a lack of energy during the day and frequent mood changes.

A large proportion of people with sleep apnea are unaware because they have not been diagnosed.

What are the causes?

For people with sleep apnea, it is not uncommon to find two main causes that can explain the development of the syndrome.

Obstruction

The most common cause is obstruction, i.e. the airways are blocked. This is usually due to a lower jaw that is too short or recessed, a soft palate that is too long, large tonsils or excess fatty tissue in the throat (often in obese individuals).

Neurological

The second, less frequent cause is neurological. In this case, there is no mouth-related obstruction problem, rather the central nervous system that fails to signal the body to make the breathing effort.

The solutions

This syndrome has many effects. Individuals may report problems such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and stroke. In addition, if sleep apnea is not treated, it can be responsible for poor performance at work and in daily activities as well as greater difficulty concentrating.

This is why it is important to consult a specialist doctor in order to be diagnosed as soon as possible and find a solution that meets your needs.

Furthermore, it is first and foremost recommended to eliminate all factors that can aggravate sleep apnea, such as alcohol and smoking. A person’s weight should also be taken into consideration as a means of reducing the effects of this respiratory disorder.

The right equipment

Often, people with sleep apnea are advised to use a device that allows Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device ensures proper breathing throughout the night. However, it is very restrictive and many patients are reluctant to sleep with this device all night long.

Surgery as a solution?

Another solution that is frequently offered is orthognathic surgery. This method increases the size of the airways and frees them from obstruction. Before this surgery, it is important to properly diagnose the type of sleep apnea you have and ensure that it is the most effective method for you.

Who should you contact?

Do you think you have sleep apnea? Clinique MFML team members are experts in this field and will be able to provide you with the best advice. Contact our team for more information.

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