Sleep apnea affects millions of people in the United States alone, and many more cases go undiagnosed. Since sleep apnea occurs during sleep, it’s common for people not to realize they’re experiencing problems.
Undiagnosed and untreated, sleep apnea can cause symptoms that diminish the quality of your life and can even lead to serious health problems.
At StoneRidge Dental Care, our dentists can talk with you about sleep apnea, its signs and symptoms, evaluate your anatomy for common signs of one type of sleep apnea, provide you with treatment recommendations, and more.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation of breathing during sleep.
There are three types of sleep apnea defined by the underlying cause of the disorder:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs as a result of a person’s throat muscles relaxing and cutting off the airway during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea – This form of sleep apnea occurs due to a problem with the central nervous system which prevents the brain from sending proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – Individuals with complex sleep apnea syndrome suffer from a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring and the frequent cessation of breathing are the two most common and most obvious symptoms of sleep apnea. These symptoms are most commonly reported by spouses, roommates, and children of individuals with sleep apnea.
If you live alone, however, there are still ways to detect signs of sleep apnea upon waking and throughout the day. These signs and symptoms include:
Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
Gasping for air in the night
Falling asleep during the day (hypersomnia)
Waking with a dry or sore throat
Frequent morning headaches
Trouble focusing or paying attention while awake
Irritability, depression, and moodiness
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Untreated sleep apnea not only leads to dangers associated with daytime fatigue, such as an increased risk of accidents, but it can also lead to a variety of dangerous systemic health problems including:
Cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heartbeat.
Type 2 diabetes
Sleep Apnea Treatments With Our Dentists in Gahanna
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, our dentists can recommend you for a sleep study to assess your symptoms and sleep patterns and provide you with a sleep apnea diagnosis.
Some cases of sleep apnea must be treated with a CPAP breathing machine. However, depending on the type and severity of your sleep apnea, our dentist might be able to provide you with treatment using a simple mouthguard device, designed to support your soft palate and maintain open airways while you sleep.
To learn more about sleep apnea or to schedule a sleep apnea evaluation with our dentist, we welcome you to fill out our online sleep apnea evaluation form and contact StoneRidge Dental Care today.
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