Do You or a Loved One Have Sleep Apnea? Let California Dental Group explain the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea which can lead to serious health related problems. You may be surprised to learn that Sleep Apnea is highly treatable. Call us today to schedule your appointment.
What is Sleep Apnea?
A common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing is disrupted during sleep with repeatedly stops and starts. Although sleep apnea is treatable, it often goes unrecognized.
Sleep apnea affects the way you breathe when you’re sleeping. In untreated sleep apnea, breathing is briefly interrupted or becomes very shallow during sleep. These breathing pauses typically last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur up to hundreds of times a night, jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. As a consequence, you spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.
Men, overweight people, and people over 40 are at greater risk for sleep apnea. Even children can suffer from sleep apnea.
What Are the Risks?
This chronic sleep deprivation results in daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents. Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to very serious health problems over time, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and weight gain.
But with treatment you can control the symptoms, get your sleep back on track, and start enjoy being refreshed and alert every day.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing you to snore loudly.
Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore.
Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Anatomy of a Sleep Apnea Episode:
- As airflow stops during a sleep apnea episode, the oxygen level in your blood drops.
- Your brain responds by briefly disturbing your sleep enough to kick start breathing—which often resumes with a gasp or a choking sound.
- If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you probably won’t remember these awakenings. Most of the time, you’ll stir just enough to tighten your throat muscles and open your windpipe.
- In central sleep apnea, you may be conscious of your awakenings.
Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms
- Loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea
- If pauses occur while you snore, and if choking or gasping follow the pauses, these are major signs that you have sleep apnea.
- Another common sign of sleep apnea is fighting sleepiness during the day, at work, or while driving. You may find yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiet moments of the day when you’re not active. Even if you don’t have daytime sleepiness, you may have problems breathing during sleep.
- Morning headaches
- Memory or learning problems and not being able to concentrate
- Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
- Waking up frequently to urinate
- Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children
While obstructive sleep apnea can be common in children, it’s not always easy to recognize. In addition to continuous loud snoring, children with sleep apnea may adopt strange sleeping positions and suffer from bedwetting, excessive perspiration at night, or night terrors.
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. One of the options an oral appliance. These sleep apnea mouth pieces are custom made by dentists using a plastic-like mold to form to the specific shape of the patient’s teeth and mouth. Not only do they work against sleep apnea, they are also effective to stop snoring.
How Does the Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Work?
Custom sleep apnea mouthpieces are very effective in sleep apnea patients who have mild or moderate sleep apnea and can even be used in patients with severe sleep apnea. They are often used as a substitute for CPAP or sleep apnea oral surgery.
Sleep apnea oral appliances work by moving the jaw forward, which increases the size of the upper airway, thus reducing the air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and snoring.
A sleep study is highly advised in order for the appropriate appliance to be recommended. It is extremely important that your doctor or dentist approve the appliance, as many of the over-the-internet ‘boil and bite’ mouth pieces for sleep apnea are not effective.