Sleep apnea is a common health condition, and it might come as a surprise that many people who suffer from have no idea they have it. Snoring is one of the more common symptoms of sleep apnea, but not all people who snore have the condition. Often a sleep partner is the one who alerts sufferers that they might have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition wherein the upper airway is repeatedly blocked while a person sleeps, meaning airflow is reduced or stopped altogether.
It’s crucial that sleep apnea be diagnosed and treated because it can be a dangerous condition that is wrought with complications, including an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, call The Dental Care Center to find out about getting treatment.
Why People Snore
When a person cannot move air freely through their nose and throat while sleeping, snoring is the result. Snoring makes the soft and hard tissues vibrate, which gives us the familiar snoring sound.
Some people are more prone to snoring than others, and snoring can be exacerbated by alcohol, smoking, a deviated septum, hypothyroidism, and other health problems. Snorers who are especially loud might even have blocked air passages, which is called obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring Versus Sleep Apnea
Plenty of people snore, and it is nothing more than an annoyance to their sleep partner. But if snoring is present with other symptoms, they might have obstructive sleep apnea. Here are some of the signs to look for:
- You stop breathing several times during the night
- You gasp for air after the breathing pauses
- You wake up numerous times during the night
- You notice a lack of libido
- You are tired throughout the day in spite of being in bed for seven or eight hours the night before
- You are often irritable and depressed
- You wake up with headaches, a sore throat, or a dry mouth
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
One of the most common methods of treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP therapy has a high rate of success when patients use it consistently. Unfortunately, many people find the CPAP machine to be uncomfortable to use while sleeping, so they stop using it and their sleep apnea goes untreated.
For those patients who are dealing with fairly moderate cases of sleep apnea, there are other options available. Your dentist can talk to you about a mandibular advancement device that resembles a mouth guard used by athletes. This device helps keep the airway open by keeping the lower jaw down and slightly forward. Another device resembles a splint, which keeps the tongue in the correct position so that it doesn’t block the airway.
Don’t Suffer From Sleep Apnea
If you think you are suffering from sleep apnea, call your Van Nuys dentist The Dental Care Center. We can help diagnose you and provide treatment options if you have sleep apnea. We want you and your partner to get a good night’s sleep. Make an appointment today!