Dr. Rick Soordhar and Dr. Vick Soordhar have specialized training in recognizing the symptoms and risk factors for sleep apnea in adults and children.
Sleep Apnea can affect all age groups from infants to adults.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is fundamentally an orthopedic problem (upper jaw/lower jaw/back of throat/tongue) from the inability of the mandible to maintain a patent airway. Normally during sleep, the muscles which control the tongue and soft palate, hold the airway open. If these muscles relax too much, the airway becomes narrower which causes snoring and breathing difficulties. If the muscles relax too much, the airway can become completely blocked and prevent breathing. After a period of time, which can be from 10 seconds to 2 minutes, the brain realizes there is a lack of oxygen and alerts the body to wake up. Though the sufferer is not aware of it, this cycle can happen several hundred times during the night, severely disrupting sleep (Robert L. Talley, D.D.S.)
Other causes are 1. underdeveloped upper and lower jaws and 2. enlarged adenoids and tonsils
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.