Warning Signs You’re Losing Shut-eye to Sleep Apnea
Do you routinely catch yourself dozing off in the afternoon? Does your partner constantly complain about your snoring? Are you feeling like you just aren’t sleeping well at night, even though you can’t remember tossing or turning? Is so, you may be suffering from a common but underdiagnosed problem known as obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep wellness evaluation may be beneficial.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Characterized by loud and frequent snoring, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the upper airway. This obstruction causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disease that can increase the risk for serious health problems. These problems include congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and impotence.
Who has Sleep Apnea?
If you think you have a sleep apnea, you’re not alone. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem that can affect people of any age and body type. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine reports that at least 25 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea.
Although sleep apnea can occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. While the sleep disorder is more common in men, it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway, a recessed chin or misaligned jaw all can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
How do you know if I have Sleep Apnea?
Perhaps the most important question to ask is, are you getting a good night’s sleep? If not, try recording yourself sleeping or ask your bed partner to listen while you sleep. Pay attention to the following warning signs.
- Loud, frequent snoring – Common symptom of sleep apnea.
- Breathing pauses – By definition, sleep apnea involves repeated breathing pauses throughout the night. Your bed partner may hear you gasp for breath in your sleep or may wait (slightly panicked) to hear you take your next breath.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (the ability to fall asleep anywhere, at any time)
- Memory problems
- Irritability or moodiness
- Decreased sex drive or impotence
- Morning headaches
- Acid reflux symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn or chest pain.
An oral appliance is an effective alternative to the standard continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask. Oral appliance therapy uses a mouth guard like device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway by supporting the jaw in a forward position. Many medical insurance plans, including Medicare, cover oral appliances.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non- invasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance looks like a sports mouth guard and is worn only during sleep. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans. Patient like it because it’s comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person.
You will find your symptoms, and your quality of life can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom- fit oral appliances from Parkview Dental can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.
If you have concerns about snoring and sleep apnea, it may be time to make an appointment. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, we can recommend a sleep physician to help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can fit you with an oral appliance. Our team at Parkview Dental is ready to answer your questions about sleep wellness, obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine, and oral appliance therapy.