Sleep apnea is a medical condition when there’s a sudden drop of oxygen level in your blood during sleep and interrupts your breathing. Periods when the breathing stops are called apnea or apneic episodes. There are (3) types of sleep apnea including central, complex, and obstructive.

Of the three types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common yet underrecognized and underdiagnosed. Normally, air flows smoothly from the nose and mouth into the lungs. But with this medical condition, breathing stops involuntarily for short periods during sleep.

OSA is often mistaken for snoring. With this medical condition, the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway – often producing loud snoring or choking sounds.

What Are the Leading Risk Factors?

Anyone can be at risk to develop OSA. However, certain factors increase the risk including:

  • Narrowed airway – Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can block airways.
  • Hypertension – OSA is relatively common for people with high blood pressure.
  • Chronic nasal congestion – OSA is more common with people who have routine nasal congestion at night; this may be a result of narrowed airways.
  • Excess weight – Many people with OSA are overweight. Fat deposits near the upper airway can obstruct breathing.
  • Family history – If you have family members with OSA, you could be at increased risk.
  • Asthma – Studies show that people with asthma are at higher risk for OSA.

OSA is a serious medical condition and those at higher risk should seek a diagnosis from a medical specialist.

Complications Associated With OSA

There are several health problems associated with this serious medical condition. Complications may include but not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Complications with surgery or medications
  • Sleep-deprived partners
  • Eye problems

People suffering from OSA have also reported headaches, memory problems, mood swings, or depression.

How is OSA Diagnosed?

The leading diagnosis for OSA is polysomnography, a comprehensive sleep study used to diagnose sleep disorders. However, a medical specialist can review a patient’s detailed medical history and conduct a physical examination that may help reveal previously undiagnosed cases.

Diagnosing sleep apnea is important because left undetected, OSA can lead to serious medical issues such as heart disease, depression, hypertension, and even death.

What Treatment Options Do I Have?

Upon diagnosis, your doctor may present treatment options including:

  • Treating the underlying medical condition that is causing sleep apnea
  • Breathing devices or apparatus
  • Dental devices
  • Implants
  • Surgery

Medication can also be used to treat sleep apnea. Regardless of the treatment method, it’s best to seek medical advice as soon as you think you may suffer from OSA.

Contact Headache TMJ – Los Angeles Pain Clinic Today

Recognizing signs of OSA is important so you can get seek treatment as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any signs of this medical problem, contact our clinic so we can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment options. Headache TMJ is the top orofacial pain clinic in Los Angeles, California. We provide the best treatment services for patients suffering from complex head, face, mouth, temporomandibular joint, neck pain, snoring, or other related symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Our clinic serves patients in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.


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