Do you have trouble feeling rested after a long night’s sleep? You may have blamed it on a stressful day or a lumpy mattress, but your problems sleeping could have a more serious cause: a sleep disorder.

An estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a type of sleep disorder categorized as a “very common” condition by the Mayo Clinic. Although sleep apnea is common, it is still very serious. Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, put you at a higher risk for serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, it’s important that you get treatment as quickly as possible.

Dr. Jeff S. Luffey, DDS, is a sleep apnea dentist in Albuquerque, NM. If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder of any type, give Dr. Luffey a call at (505) 294-4700. He can help you discover if you have sleep apnea and provide you with a simple orthodontic appliance that will help you get back to enjoying a deep, healthy sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing and shallow breathing while sleeping. Each pause in breathing is called an apnea episode. An apnea episode can last anywhere from seconds to several minutes, in severe cases. Hypopnea is the term used to describe shallow breathing episodes, which often occur between apnea episodes.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is the #1 symptom of sleep apnea, along with feeling tired after a full night’s sleep. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include

Types of Sleep Apnea

During sleep, your brain instructs your muscles to keep breathing, but sleep apnea interrupts this healthy pattern. There are three types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the brain sends the signal to your body to take a breath, but your body cannot due to an obstruction in your airways. For most patients, the obstruction is caused by the soft tissues in the back of the mouth collapsing during sleep. With OSA, patients snore loudly, are restless and have up to 30 breathing pauses per hour. It most frequently occurs in patients who have low muscle mass around the airway. Rick factors include obesity and smoking. OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): CSA is a neurological disorder that occurs when respiratory control in the brain malfunctions. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the signal to your muscles to breathe, preventing you from breathing for periods of time at night. This increases the risk of heart attack and in some cases, patients have died in their sleep due to prolonged episodes.

Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA): Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and CSA. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, it’s likely that you will develop central sleep apnea over time if it is not treated. That’s why it’s so important to contact a sleep apnea dentist near you as soon as you show signs of having a sleep disorder.

Sleep Apnea Dentist in Albuquerque

The first step to discovering if you have sleep apnea or any type of sleep disorder is to get a diagnosis. Usually this occurs after the results of a sleep study. Dr. Luffey can take you through every step of treating your sleep disorder in Albuquerque, NM. For more information, contact our office at (505) 294-4700.