Apnea (also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome – OSAS) is considered to be a sleep disorder, on a par, for example, with insomnia, sleepwalking, bruxism or restless legs syndrome. This pathology consists in the interruption of breathing for periods longer than 10 seconds, causing the person to wake up, interrupting in this way the natural sleep cycle and can occur many times per hour of sleep.
Since it is a phenomenon that happens when we are sleeping, it is almost always the partner who witnesses these episodes. Usually, these are the main symptoms
– pauses or breathing stops (which, as mentioned above, are witnessed by your partner)
– a restless sleep
– sensation of suffocation at various awakenings;
– drowsiness throughout the day
– fatigue during the day;
– and decreased sexual desire.
If you think you may be facing this syndrome, then you should consult a dentist who has specialized training in dental sleep medicine for a correct diagnosis.
As there are several types of Apnea it is necessary to perform a non-invasive auxiliary diagnostic test: a polysomnography. The result can indicate a mild, moderate or severe Apnea. As part of the treatment, some general measures are advised:
– having an adequate body mass index (BMI), which is reflected in a reduction in weight;
– no smoking
– not to drink alcoholic beverages in the evening
– reduce caffeine intake
– have healthy sleep habits
– and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
More specific treatments may include the use of an intra-oral mandibular advancement device, but only your doctor can advise on the most appropriate treatment.
Although it is not always easy to fulfill each of the requirements mentioned above, the ideal will always be to find the best balance for our general well-being. The absence of sleep has a direct impact on the day-to-day life of each one of us and is reflected, for example, in mood swings, slower thinking, or even difficulties in memorizing information.
An article by Pedro Crispim, MD, Dentist at the Implantology Institute.