What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that disrupts an individual’s breathing while they sleep. The three most common kinds of sleep apnea include:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
This happens when an individual’s airway is blocked. This typically occurs when you are sleeping on your back and tissue blocks the back of your throat. This is the most commonly diagnosed kind of sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) - Lack of signal from the brain instructing the body to breathe.
This type of sleep apnea happens when your brain fails to instruct your body to breathe. CSA is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, and encephalitis.
Mixed Sleep Apnea - A combination of both OSA and CSA.
Signs and Symptoms
The following may be related to sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breath or infrequent breathing while sleeping
- Feeling short of breath when you wake up
- Difficulty falling back asleep after you wake up during the night
- Restless sleep
- Headaches in the morning when you wake up
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning when you wake up
- Sleepiness and fatigue even after a full night’s rest
- Difficulty concentrating
Who is at Risk?
Patients of any age can be diagnosed with sleep apnea, however, it is more common in older individuals. The attributes below can enhance the likelihood of being diagnosed with sleep apnea:
- Small jaw
- Over 40 years old
- Large neck, tongue, uvula, or tonsils
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Nasal blockage from allergies, deviated septum, or other sinus problems.
- Family history of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition. If you don’t treat it in a timely manner, the following can happen:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
A healthy diet, active lifestyle, and an established sleep schedule can decrease your chances of being diagnosed with sleep apnea. Other practices that can reduce the likelihood of sleep apnea include:
- Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and other sedatives that can relax your throat and restrict breathing.
- Try to sleep in a position that enables you to sleep easily. Remember, sleeping on your back makes it easier for soft tissue to fall and disrupt breathing.
- Losing weight can potentially alleviate stress on your neck and heart and help you stay asleep with fewer disruptions
At Dental By Nature we understand how sleep apnea can hold an individual back and we’re committed to helping you stay asleep throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed.
We offer several treatment options to help you combat sleep apnea:
- Tongue stabilizing devices
- Custom designed mouth tray
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines
If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, call us today at (303) 776-6021 to schedule an appointment. Let us help you achieve a better night’s rest every night.