Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health problem that stops a person from breathing normally while sleeping. You can stop breathing for seconds or even up to a few minutes, making this a potentially fatal condition if not properly diagnosed and treated. Your Hampton family dentist is one of your best resources when it comes to this condition and can tell you if you have sleep apnea – and help you figure out how to treat it.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, and it seems like just about everyone is aware of their quality of sleep these days, with many wishing they could sleep better at night. But there is a difference between a few nights of poor sleep because of stress or sickness and a consistent problem with getting real rest.
Here are just some of the signs that you might have sleep apnea:
- Snoring. Loud, heavy snoring is something your partner may alert you to before you realize it yourself.
- Daytime tiredness. If you are exhausted and zapped of energy during the day, it could be because you’re not sleeping well through the night.
- Restless sleep. You wake frequently during the night, but may or may not be conscious of it.
- Waking gasping for air. You wake at night feeling like you’re gagging or choking.
- Mood changes. When you don’t sleep well, for a consistently long time, your mood will be affected negatively and you may even develop depression and anxiety.
Combined with the above, headaches, decreased sex drive, difficulty concentrating, frequent heartburn, unexplained weight gain, and more symptoms can also point to a sleep apnea problem.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea episodes can occur between five and 30 times per hour, which adds up to hundreds of times per night, leading to severe sleep deprivation and making this a chronic and serious health condition.
Sleep apnea is typically caused by an obstruction of the airway, which can happen because of excess soft tissues in your throat and nasal passages. But you may also have a narrow airway, large tonsils, or a large neck circumference which can also impact the development of this problem.
Whatever the reason for the restriction of your breathing, the result is interrupted sleep that never allows you to feel fully rested. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and more cardiovascular problems. Exhaustion can affect your ability to function normally and respond quickly, making everything you do a possibility for an accident, especially when driving.
See Your Hampton Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment
The Hampton dentist who tends to your teeth and gums is one of the best resources for you when it comes to a question or concern about sleep apnea. There are several treatments for sleep apnea, including a CPAP machine and, for some people, surgical removal of excess tissues. However, at Smiles by the Sea, we use a custom-made oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw and keeps the airways open during sleep, eliminating the need for a disruptive machine or surgery. Improve your quality of sleep – and your quality of life. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact Dr.