Do you consistently wake up in the morning and feel like you have not gotten enough rest? Has your spouse complained that you keep them up at night with persistent snoring? Or have you ever been stirred out of sleep with the feeling that you are gasping for air? These symptoms all point to the possibility of sleep apnea, a disorder that is potentially very serious. Thankfully, sleep apnea is also treatable. To learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis or seek treatment for your symptoms, we welcome you to contact Snow Family Dentistry in Mesa, AZ.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by your breathing repeatedly stopping and starting. Sleep apnea actually comes in different forms, including each of the following:
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common type of sleep apnea, characterized by the throat muscles relaxing as you sleep.
- Central sleep apnea. This kind of sleep apnea results from the brain not sending the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea. This term applies to individuals who have both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
No matter which type of sleep apnea you have, the implications can be very serious. Sleep apnea deprives you of the oxygen you need and also makes it impossible to get truly restorative sleep. This may result in chronic fatigue and other adverse effects on your health.
How Do You Know if You Have Sleep Apnea?
The surest way to know whether or not you have sleep apnea is to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional. Dr. Snow and his team would be happy to address any of your questions or concerns when you come in for your routine dental appointment.
Additionally, be alert to some of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Many of them overlap between obstructive and central sleep apnea, and may include:
- Loud, persistent snoring
- Incidents where you stop breathing during the night
- Awakening to find yourself gasping for air
- Chronic fatigue or difficulty staying awake during the day
- Morning headaches or dry mouth
Why is Sleep Apnea Serious?
Sleep apnea can make it challenging to get enough sleep at night, and it may also leave you feeling groggy during the day. Additionally, sleep apnea that is left untreated may result in a number of further health complications.
Blood Pressure and Heart Problems
Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels can lead to elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
Sleep apnea also increases the risk of developing insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Loud snoring and abrupt awakenings not only make it harder for you to sleep, but they also make it harder for your spouse or partner, as well.
Personal and Professional Complications
Sleep apnea may lead to fatigue, irritability, and impaired decision-making, which can in turn lead to difficulty at work or in personal relationships.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
For those who are concerned about the effects of sleep apnea, Dr. Snow can provide treatment options, including treatments that make use of dental appliances. These devices work in a fashion similar to retainers. When you wear them to sleep, they ensure that all of your breathing pathways remain open. Dental appliance therapy can help you get the sleep you need each night with minimal disruption due to breathing problems.
There are a number of dental appliances available to curb the effects of sleep apnea, and sometimes it may take a couple of tries to find the one best suited for you. At Snow Family Dentistry, we can guide you through the different options that are available.
Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is more common in certain populations. If you are in a high-risk group, we recommend being especially attentive to the signs and symptoms of this serious sleep disorder.
Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is most common among those who are overweight, those who struggle with persistent nasal congestion, and those who have a family history of sleep apnea. It is also most common among those who are older.
Risk Factors for Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is most likely to affect middle-aged and older individuals and anyone who has experienced heart problems or stroke.
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Mesa, AZ
Sleep apnea can significantly diminish your quality of life. Thankfully, there are treatments available, and we are pleased to offer our expertise here at Snow Family Dentistry.
Make a sleep apnea appointment with us at your convenience.