What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where the individual ceases breathing multiple times while sleeping. One of the symptoms can be chronic snoring, but snoring can be the result of many other conditions so one should not jump to the conclusion that they are suffering with sleep apnea just because they snore.
Sleep apnea can be a very serious problem … if you suspect you may suffer with this sleeping disorder, there are several approaches to take.
- Lose weight as carrying extra pounds can contribute to the problem.
- Stop smoking, which is excellent advice for your overhaul good health.
- Try a different sleeping position like moving from your back to your side.
- Make an appointment with your dentist.
What does your dentist have to do with a sleeping disorder? Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the throat and/or tongue collapse blocking the airway. The individual usually awakens and their movement causes the airway to open. Your dentist can fabricate a mouth guard that will keep your jaw positioned in a way to prevent the blockage from occurring.
What side effects occur if the problem is not corrected? The most obvious, of course, is oxygen deprivation. This can lead to a stroke. High blood pressure is another.
The inability to think clearly can be the result of night after night of interrupted sleep patterns. The patient might not even realize this is happening. Even though they might be waking up as much as hundreds of times each night, they may not be aware of this occurrence.
A partner may provide the first clues that sleep apnea is a possibility. Snoring, choking or gurgling sounds while asleep are indicators. Daily fatigue when you felt like you had a good night’s sleep or the need for regular naps can be a hint as well as persistent morning headaches.
If you suspect this sleep disorder is disrupting your life, a sleep study is often required to determine if sleep apnea is occurring. Following a sleep study, a consultation with your dentist for a sleeping device that will position your jaw to prevent the blockage is the next step. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended for a more permanent solution.
If you have questions about your sleep apnea concerns, contact our skilled dental team today to schedule an informative consultation.