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Sleep apnea, or its common form obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when your airway is blocked while you sleep. Because of the lack of oxygen, most people with this condition will choke in their sleep or awake suddenly gasping for air.
While most people don’t even realize they are afflicted by OSA, this disorder can be extremely serious and even deadly. This happens when your tongue falls back into your throat and prevents you from breathing. When you are not getting the oxygen you need, your lungs try harder to breathe and your heart has to pump harder, increasing your blood pressure.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to:
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Sleep apnea is characterized by a number of symptoms, including:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air while you sleep
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Mood swings
Although OSA can affect people of all ages, it is more common after the age of 30. It is also more widely encountered in patients who are overweight or are genetically predisposed.
If you would like to learn about treatment options for sleep apnea, please contact Calgary, Alberta, dentist Dr. Jennifer Silver at Southcentre Dental Clinic to schedule a consultation.