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OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is present in millions of people who don't even realize it. This disorder actually causes you to stop breathing while you sleep.
OSA is when your muscles relax in your mouth and throat while you sleep. This in turn causes your airway to be blocked, or obstructed by the relaxed tissues in the back of your mouth and your breathing air way. Because your air way is being blocked, your lungs and blood are not getting as much oxygen as they need. This causes your heart to start working harder to get more blood through your body and to your brain.
This needs to happen because your brain needs a certain amount of oxygen and if your oxygen levels are low in your blood, your body starts to pump more blood. Pumping more blood means your heart starts working harder. Some cases have shown that peoples hearts start to pump almost as if they were running a marathon. Put this together with the fact that you are not breathing and you will wake up with a racing heart gasping for air.
Now many people would never think to go to a dentist to address a sleep apnea problem. The truth is, dentists can be highly trained in sleep apnea as it has everything to do with your mouth, jaw and surrounding areas. In the past, the only solution was a CPAP. This is a machine that continually forces air into your lungs. Now, there are simple appliances that you wear that will help solve this problem.