Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that is characterized by fatigue, snoring, and irregular breathing during sleep.
Although there are several types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common. When you are sleeping, your throat muscles and soft tissues at the back of your mouth occasionally relax, seal together, and block your airway. Snoring and tooth grinding are two of the most common symptoms of OSA. Undiagnosed OSA patients may also experience the following symptoms:
- A feeling of shortness of breath
- Sudden waking
- Dry mouth or a sore throat in the morning
- Insomnia and difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up with headaches
- Feeling fatigued
Identifying the Risk Factors
It is estimated that 26% of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 have some form of sleep apnea. Some risk factors are genetic or hereditary, while others are the result of age and lifestyle choices. There are a number of conditions that can increase your risk of developing OSA, including:
- Family history of OSA
- A small or narrow jaw
- Enlarged tonsils
- Large neck circumference
- Alcohol consumption at bedtime
The Treatment Options Available to You
In the event that you suspect you may have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, the first step you should take is to schedule an evaluation for testing and diagnosis. It is now possible to complete a sleep study from the comfort of your own home. You may need to use a CPAP machine (a device worn at night to assist oxygen intake using positive airway pressure) or an oral sleep appliance, depending on your specific diagnosis. Mouthguards for sleep are designed to maintain your lower jaw in a position that htallows your airway to open naturally during sleep. A dental appliance is less cumbersome and more discreet than a continuous positive airway pressure device.
Don’t delay your treatment any longer.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic health condition that affects everything from your job performance to your blood pressure to your attitude and energy level. In the absence of treatment, sleeping disorders can cause numerous health complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It is also possible to fall asleep while driving or working.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of snoring or sleep apnea, contact our office today to schedule an appointment. A life-saving intervention could be made!