Obstructive, Central, and Mixed Sleep Apnea are the three types, with the most prevalent being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
- OBSTRUCTIVE: This is where the upper airway is partially or fully obstructed during sleep. The diaphragm and chest muscles struggle to open the airway during an apnea episode as the pressure rises. With a loud gasp or a body jolt, breathing generally restarts. These episodes can disrupt sleep, limit oxygen delivery to essential organs, and create heart rhythm issues. Thankfully, it can be treated with an oral appliance
- CENTRAL: Here, the airway remains open, however, the brain is failing to communicate with the muscles. This causes instability in the respiratory system. This type of apnea is connected to the central nervous system therefore it can not be treated by an oral appliance.
- MIXED: Just as it sounds, mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central.