Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects not only adults but some children as well. As stated by El-Ad, “patients complain about excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and impaired alertness”. In other words, common effects of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, a slower reaction time, and vision problems. Moreover, patients are examined using “standard test batteries” in order to further identify parts of the brain that are affected by sleep apnea. Tests have shown that certain parts of the brain cause different effects. The “executive functioning” part of the brain affects the way the patient plans and initiates tasks. Second, the part of the brain that deals with attention causes difficulty in paying attention, working effectively and processing information when in a waking state. Thirdly, the part of the brain that uses memory and learning is also affected. Due to the disruption in daytime cognitive state, behavioral effects are also present. There is also increasing evidence that sleep apnea may also lead to liver function impairment, particularly fatty liver diseases (see steatosis). This includes moodiness, belligerence, as well as a decrease in attentiveness and drive. These effects become very hard to deal with, thus the development of depression may transpire. Finally, because there are many factors that could lead to some of the effects previously listed, some patients are not aware that they suffer from sleep apnea and are either misdiagnosed, or just ignore the symptoms altogether.


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