Over 22 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea, a condition that is alarmingly on the rise. Unfortunately, though, many of the people suffering from the issue haven’t been diagnosed. Thus, they are at risk of encountering the peripheral problems that can arise – some of which can be life-threatening. Read on to find out why ignoring the warning signs of sleep apnea could be a huge mistake, and also discover how your dentist can help out!
What is Sleep Apnea?
The term ‘sleep apnea’ refers to frequent pauses in breathing throughout the night, and the most common cause of the condition is a partial blockage of the airway, which is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One of the tell-tell signs of OSA is loud snoring that is caused by the vibration created when air attempts to bypass the relaxed throat muscles.
The Common Symptoms of OSA
The first step to receiving treatment for OSA is to be aware of the following warning signs:
- Daytime fatigue
- Bouts of depression
- Morning headaches
- Frequent mood swings
- Morning throat soreness
If you notice any of these symptoms, then you should immediately reach out to your primary care physician and your local sleep dentist so you can undergo a sleep study, and to learn about the available treatment options.
The Danger of Ignoring Sleep Apnea
Failing to seek treatment for sleep apnea can cost you more than just a good night’s sleep. It can also leave you more susceptible to life-threatening conditions like obesity, stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. There is also a possible connection between sleep apnea and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
How Sleep Apnea is Treated
The most common way of treating sleep apnea is with a CPAP machine, but some patients find the sound it produces and its more cumbersome nature to be difficult to deal with. Thankfully, there is another option – an oral appliance.
It’s custom-designed to fit comfortably into the mouth while the patient sleeps, and it works by slightly shifting the lower jaw forward. In doing so, it helps to keep the airway open by preventing the tongue and throat muscles from collapsing. There is a 96% success rate (as in preventing snoring) for people treated with an oral appliance, which means a more restful night of sleep for both the person suffering from sleep apnea and his or her partner.
So if you’ve been missing out on the quality rest that your mind and body desperately need, then reach out to your local sleep dentist to schedule a visit today.