Sleep apnea is a medical condition caused by the muscles in the back of the throat relaxing and contracting during sleep. This constricts the airway, which means not enough breath is taken in. Your brain will become aware that you’re not taking in enough oxygen and wake you up periodically. This often goes unnoticed by the sleeper but is accompanied by a snorting, choking, or gasping sound, which can be very noticeable to sleeping partners. Over time, sleep apnea can also lead to loss of oxygen in the blood.
Sleep apnea can lead to lots of problems, such as:
- Snoring (which can be very disruptive for sleeping companions!)
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Type II diabetes
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
If you suffer from sleep apnea, here are some things you need to know:
- You Need to Do a Sleep StudyIn order to be properly diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will need to do a sleep study. This means a specialist will monitor you while you sleep in order to diagnose the severity of your sleep apnea and prescribe treatments.
- You May Need a CPAP Machine A CPAP, or sleep apnea machine, is placed around the face to cover the nose. The machine sends pressurized air into the nose in order to keep the airway open during sleep.
- There Are Many Treatment OptionsThe risk factors of sleep apnea can vary, and include:
- Anatomy, such as neck circumference, and airway width
- Genetic history
- Gender (men are far more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women)
- Alcohol consumption
Since there are so many different causes of sleep apnea, treatment options can also vary. It can be as simple as adjusting your sleep posture, or you may require a specially fitted mouthpiece, a CPAP machine, or surgery. Once you’re diagnosed, you can discuss which option is best for you with your dentist or doctor.
- It Will Get BetterSleep apnea can be an incredibly uncomfortable, unpleasant condition. It can seem much worse than it is, especially before you are diagnosed. However, with the help of a doctor or dentist, there are many effective treatment options that can help ease sleep apnea, allowing you to have a good night’s sleep!
At Sierra Dental, we offer many options for sleep apnea therapy. Stop suffering and contact us today to address this potentially serious health issue!