Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that is characterized by sleep issues due to breathing and snoring problems. While some people consider snoring to be a mild issue, sleep apnea can have significant long-term impact on your health and wellness.
Everyone knows that good sleep is crucial to our lives, but many people don’t understand just how badly sleep apnea can impact your health due to ruining the quality of your sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea can suffer life threatening diseases like type-2 diabetes, strokes or heart attacks.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disease where your sleep is regularly interrupted, commonly because of breathing problems. This manifests most commonly as snoring but can also show up in other ways indicating that your breathing is affected while you’re asleep. This leads to your brain frequently waking up to make sure that you get enough oxygen. People can experience dozens to hundreds of “waking” events that prevent you from reaching the deep, healing sleep that you need for your body to revitalize itself.
The lack of sleep can lead to long term health problems as well as the short term risks of poor sleep including falling asleep at the wheel of a car, being accident prone or any other symptom you might see in people who are very low on sleep.
How Can I Tell If I May Have Sleep Apnea?
While snoring is the most common symptom, not everyone who has sleep apnea may snore. There are multiple signs you can look for and if you happen to sleep in the same bed as a partner, you can have them look for symptoms as well. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, your dentist and doctors can work together to test you in a sleep lab or using an at home test to read your brain waves or monitor your breathing activity.
Most common symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Frequently stopping breathing
- Extreme dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
- Wake up choking or gasping
- Waking up repeatedly
- Feeling dramatically sleepy during the day
- Memory, concentration and motor function issues
Additionally, there are physical and lifestyle factors that you should look out for to see if you may suffer from sleep apnea. Risk factors include:
- Tonsil or adenoid issues
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers
How to Treat Mild to Severe Sleep Apnea?
If you find out that you suffer from mild sleep apnea, treatment typically revolves around reducing the risk factors by losing weight, quitting smoking or changing medicine if your medicine is the cause. However, some people suffer from more severe symptoms. These people can use equipment to help mitigate breathing issues.
The most known sleep apnea treatment is the use of a Continued Positive Air Pressure or CPAP machine. This mask creates positive air pressure all night to force your airway open and keep them open properly throughout the night. However, many people find these masks to be uncomfortable and can’t stick with them for long.
Another very popular method to treat sleep apnea is using a custom, molded mouthguard or tooth guard that is used to move your jaw forward and keep your airways open throughout the night. Your dentist can help you find the right brand and help you shape it to your teeth and jaw to relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
Who Can I Talk with About Sleep Apnea?
Your dentist should be the first stop on your journey to treat sleep apnea and breathing problems. At Hassey Dental, our experienced staff can help find out whether you suffer from structural or oral issues that may contribute to sleep problems. Call us today and make an appointment to find out about your sleep troubles.