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What is Sleep Apnea?
The Greek word "apnea" literally means "without breath." There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common. Despite the difference in the root cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep
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The flow of air into the mask creates a dilating pressure that is transmitted from the mask through the nose into the upper airway. This positive pressure dilates the upper airway so the breathing is not interrupted. When a sleep apnea patient no longer has obstructed breaths they are able to sleep continuously and hence their quality of sleep improves dramatically. An added benefit is that when the upper airway is dilated sufficiently there shouldn't be any further snoring. The amount of airflow and hence the amount of pressure is determined by your doctor. To date this has been the most successful and well-studied treatment for sleep apnea. This type of treatment almost always works regardless of the underlying cause of the sleep apnea. It is usually well tolerated and does not have any serious side effects. The treatment is not covered by the provincial health care plan, but is covered by some third party insurance companies
3. One of the reasons for the upper airway to become narrowed at night is because the tongue falls posteriorly, especially in the supine position. Since the tongue is attached to mandible this can be a significant problem in people with retrognathia and/or a very large tongue. It is possible to use a dental splint at night that effectively prevents

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