In this article, Calgary orthodontists Dr. Antosz and Dr. Vincelli offer you a first step in understanding what it is, who's at risk, and why.
Definition: Apnea—"the arousal of breathing for 10 seconds or more. It is a full obstruction of the airway when a person is asleep." In this case, arousal means that the sleep moves from a deeper level of sleep into a more 'awake' one. (source)
In OSAS, the sleeper's upper airway becomes partially or fully blocked. Thus, the amount of air entering the lungs is reduced—or even completely stopped for a number of seconds. The result is lower than required levels of oxygen in the blood.
More than just lower oxygen levels at night, OSAS increases a person's chances of heart-related issues (heart disease, heart arrhythmias, heart failure), high blood pressure, and stroke.
The reasons? The hormone testosterone reduces effective respiration (breathing). Also, men's pharyngeal and supraglottic airways (the sections in the mouth and throat) are more resistant than those of women. In other words, they don't let air in as easily.
However, Dr. Antosz and Dr. Vincelli have dealt with pediatric and adolescent clients who suffer from this condition.
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