Sleep apnea is a disorder that similar to snoring happens unconsciously during sleep and can be the source of misery to anyone who has to live with a sufferer. Like snorers, apnea sufferers are almost completely unaware that they are making any noise or suffering with the condition unless a loved one tells them.
However, sleep apnea has a slightly darker side than snoring. Whereas snoring is the sound of an obstruction in the airway when breathing, apnea is the sound a person makes when they have completely stopped breathing. This may happen several times during the night and in some cases hundreds of times. The cessation of breathing that causes apnea has two main causes. The most common is caused when the airway is blocked by a collapsing soft palate at the back of the throat. This temporarily stops the person breathing before it rights itself. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. The other type of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea and is caused when a malfunction in the main respiratory area of the brain forgets to send a message to the lungs to breath.
Sleep apnea can be the underlying cause of stress and anxiety in everyday life as it prevents the sufferer getting the necessary amount of proper sleep. More worryingly though is the fact that it can put an enormous strain on the heart which can lead to heart disease and even fatal heart attacks. If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea it is important that they see a City of London dentist for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.