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Different Types of Sleep Apnea, With Dr. Larry Pribyl, Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, Independence, Missouri

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, where the airway closes off totally when one is asleep and you're unable to catch any breath, says Dr. Larry Pribyl, of the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Independence, Missouri.  We realize that during the deep REM sleep, where more apnic events occur.

Central sleep apnea is when the connection between the brain and diaphragm doesn't work properly and this type of apnea is managed by a breathing machine.  There is also mixed sleep apnea, which is the combination of both obstructive and central apnea and is also treated with a breathing machine.

One of the most complicated types of sleep apnea, according to Dr. Pribyl, is complex apnea.  When you put a CPAP device on the patient and all of a sudden their apnic events start going right back through the roof.  This type of apnea needs to be managed by a very specialized breathing machine used at night.

Oral appliances work for most obstructive sleep apnea patients and doesn't have any effect on other types of sleep apnea.  They also have a very positive effect on those diagnosed with UARS, or upper airway resistance syndrome.  UARS is when you make a great effort to breath and the airway doesn't close off totally.  It's still open but you are working very hard to move that air through a narrower airway, vs. obstructive sleep apnea, which has a totally closed airway, Dr. Pribyl says.  He also notes that those with UARS are extremely exhausted upon waking because it is very tiring for them.

Dr. Larry Pribyl is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder videos, and is a dentist in Independence, Missouri with the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea.

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