Sleep Apnea

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What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects about 22 million people in the US alone. People who have this condition periodically stop breathing while asleep, which causes you to feel tired and groggy during the day.

The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. In this case, the muscles in the walls of the throat relax too much. This causes the airway to collapse, which prevents air from getting into the mouth and nose.

Another type is called central apnea.  This may be due to problems with certain brain mechanisms. This is an uncommon type of sleep apnea, affecting only about 1 in 100 people.


Sleep apnea is much more serious than it may seem. It can affect your health in many ways:

  • If you have high blood pressure, sleep apnea can make your condition worse. It’s actually possible to treat your sleep apnea to lower your blood pressure.
  • If you have sleep apnea, then you’re more likely to get a heart attack. You’re also more vulnerable to strokes and atrial fibrillation (a fast and fluttering heartbeat). The interruption to your breathing keeps your brain from properly controlling the blood flow through your arteries and to your brain.
  • About 4 out of 5 people with Type II diabetes also have sleep apnea. Experts think that the sleeping difficulty can keep the body from using insulin properly, which leads to diabetes.
  • Obese individuals are more likely to get sleep apnea. It’s a terrible cycle because the sleep apnea then makes it more difficult for people to get rid of the excess weight because it causes fatigue that affects how the body changes food into energy. More food doesn’t get turned into energy and it turns into fatty deposits instead.
  • If you have sleep apnea and you drive, you’re a hazard on the road. Those with sleep apnea are 5 times more likely to get into a traffic accident.

If we suspect that you suffer from sleep apnea, we can work with specialists to treat the condition.

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Sun Valley Family Dentistry

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Vernon, BC V1T 2C8

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