What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea and snoring?

What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Snoring is a result of partial blocking of the upper airway. During sleep muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue (or flesh) at the back of the throat can sag, narrowing the airway. Incoming air then makes the tissue at the rear roof of the mouth (the soft palate), the flap of skin hanging from the palate (uvula) and the throat vibrate - a sound known as snoring. Loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem - OSA. This is where the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing stops. The brain then detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to draw breath. There are three types of OSA: upper airway obstructive, central, and mixed. The SomnoDent® MAS device is an effective treatment for those who suffer from upper airway obstruction, which is by far the most common. Despite the causative differences of each type, people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. This may happen hundreds of times during the night and can often last for a minute or longer. In central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed apnea is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition and has been linked to excessive tiredness, depression and reduced resistance to infection.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a medical condition and as such SomnoMed advises that all patients undergo a sleep study, prior to oral device therapy.

Who has OSA?

Although sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, it is usually between the ages of 45-65. Due to a lack of public awareness, the vast majority of sufferers remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated despite the fact that the disorder can have serious medical consequences.

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