Sleep Apnea – What is it?
Shallow breathing and pauses that occur while you are sleeping is a disorder commonly known as Sleep Apnea. These episodes can last a few minutes or just a few seconds and can happen as many as 20 times per hour. When this takes place a person moves from the stage of a deep sleep into and very light sleep. As you can imagine this can be very detrimental to your daily routine as you will feel tired throughout your entire day.
Obstructive sleep apnea known as the most common is when the airway in your breathing becomes blocked or collapses. Most sufferers of sleep apnea have no idea as it occurs while they are asleep.
Untreated Sleep Apnea can Cause:
- Work related or driving accidents can occur more frequently.
- It can make heart failure worse by increasing your risk.
- Very serious health issues like stroke, high blood pressure diabetes, heart attack and obesity increase.
Sleep apnea is more than snoring as stated by “The American Heart Association.” It can be a major cause in cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea affects a population that is estimated between 60 to 70 million people just in the United States alone. Approximately 80% have not been diagnosed or refuse to believe they have a problem. Mostly common in men sleep apnea also affects many women. Over 50% of people who snore loud have sleep apnea.
Therapy to help with Sleep Apnea
A custom oral airway dilator can be provided by your dentist which can be used at night while you sleep. It looks very similar to a retainer or a mouth guard. It will fit over your teeth to help apply pressure to your tongue which will keep it from falling back.
Oral Appliance Therapy also known as (OAT) can come in a custom design that fits your mouth perfectly. Only properly trained dentists such as Sleep Dentistry Denver can help manage your sleep apnea.
Therapy for Behavior
Healthy lifestyle and losing weight can significantly decrease snoring and sleep apnea. Weight loss may help some but may not help completely. Avoid things like alcohol, muscle relaxers, drugs and tobaccos. All of these can help reduce the symptoms and presence of snoring.
Therapy for Positioning
Instead of sleeping on ones back try to sleep on your side. This helps by being able to shift your weight off of your neck and keep your airway from collapsing. Again note this may help for some people but not for all.
A variety of methods done by oral and maxillofacial surgeons can treat your upper airway obstruction. This procedure can address your snoring and minimize it. Other techniques done by a Ear, nose and throat specialist can help by removing excess tissue in the passages of your nasal pathway. Some procedures may include the removal of your tonsils and adenoids.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms:
- Non-restful sleep
- Morning or migraine headaches
- Fatigue throughout the day
- Acid reflux disease
- Clenching/grinding teeth
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Memory loss
- Decreased sex drive