What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a term used to describe short, sudden, interrupted breathing when you sleep. If you have sleep apnea, this could happen to you hundreds of times a night.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the tongue, tonsils, or other tissues in your throat block your airway.
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
You may have sleep apnea without realizing it. Be aware of common signs including:
- Exhaustion during the day—even when you supposedly got plenty of sleep
- Headaches—especially in the morning
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Having a sore or dry throat when you wake up in the morning
- Occasionally having a choking or gasping sensation during the night
- Forgetfulness and moodiness during the day
- Sleepiness while driving or working
Why is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea leaves you exhausted during the day, which is already frustrating, but it can also lead to more serious problems. In some cases, you may be prone to make mistakes while driving due to exhaustion and cause an accident. Because you aren’t getting the rest you need, you will be less healthy and you may not have the energy you need to exercise regularly.
Sleep apnea can also be connected to serious health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular issues. Frequent, sudden interruptions in breathing can be hard on your heart which can lead to strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
How is sleep apnea treated?
If you notice signs of sleep apnea, it is important to consult your doctor right away, but did you know your dentist may also be able to help?
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea. In some cases, sleeping on your side or having your tonsils removed may address the problems. In moderate and severe cases a CPAP machine helps keep air flowing into the nose.
Another simple solution for mild and moderate sleep apnea is Oral Appliance Therapy. New Smiles can manufacture a special dental device to keep your airway open during sleep and treat many cases of sleep apnea. Contact us today to learn more.