Sleep Apnea: The Silent Predators

Do you wake up frequently at night gasping to breathe? Are you always tired and lethargic the next day? Do not ignore these symptoms since they may indicate an underlying medical condition! You may be suffering from sleep apnea.

The dentist in Weston, MA, and their team strive to help patients identify alarming symptoms to detect sleep apnea early and offer a comprehensive approach to treat the condition.  

The word “apnea” means breathless, and sleep apnea is a clinical condition characterized by disturbed sleep during the night due to cessation of normal breathing. Sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that results in a lack of oxygen, which, in turn, activates a survival reflex in your body that wakes you up from sleep. This can help you resume breathing but can greatly interrupt your normal sleep cycle. Over a while, untreated sleep apnea can have other debilitating consequences like increased strain on your heart.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
    • This is the most common type that occurs when muscles in the throat relax excessively during sleep
    • This causes the airway to become partially or completely blocked. 
    • Breathing is interrupted leading to pauses in breathing and disturbed sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA)
    • This type occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
    • Though there is no physical blockage the problem originates in the central nervous system.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome (mixed sleep apnea)
    • Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, or occurs when you suffer from OSA and develop central sleep apnea after starting continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. 

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can be characterized by any of the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Snoring while sleeping 
  • Waking up frequently at night due to breathing problems
  • Fatigue on waking up
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches, especially when waking up
  • Irritability 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual breathing pattern
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats and heartburn
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Loss of libido 
  • Anxiety 

How is sleep apnea treated?

Based on the type and severity of the symptoms, possible treatment options include:

Non-surgical approach: For mild cases 

  • Conservative treatment 
    • Weight loss
    • Changing sleep positions
    • Nasal sprays
  • Medications 
  • Positive airway pressure (PAP) and adaptive ventilation
  • Oral appliances
  • Nerve stimulators 

Surgical approach: For severe cases

  • Somnoplasty
  • Nasal surgery
  • tonsillectomy/ adenoidectomy
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Jaw surgery 


Recognizing the symptoms of sleep apnea and seeking timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial steps in addressing this condition. By working closely and diligently with your doctor and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, you can regain a peaceful sleep, improve overall health, and enjoy a better quality of life. 

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