What is Sleep Apnea?
At Cornelius Dental Clinic we commonly treat sleep apnea. This is something that’s typically caused by obesity because adding weight to any area of your body will cause your throat and tongue muscles to grow more relaxed, especially when you’re sleeping. As this happens, your airway grows blocked.
How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed
Many warning signs exist, suggesting that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. The most common of these signs is that you’ll frequently snore quite loudly. Sometimes this is interrupted by silent pauses in your breathing, or you may choke and gasp for air. None of this leads to refreshing sleep, which is why you’ll feel fatigued the following day. You could even wake up several times throughout the night, having to use the bathroom (nocturia) or in the morning having a headache.
How Sleep Apnea is Treated
Unfortunately, there are times when sleep apnea can’t be avoided. Fortunately, though, it is treatable. There are many different types of treatment available here that you can try if the situation doesn’t correct itself. The most common treatment is using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Another great option is mouthguards. Medication is also available to help you manage sleep apnea’s various symptoms. Some of these medications will promote wakefulness, so you don’t feel so sleepy throughout the day. These include Nuvigil (a.k.a. Armodafinil) and Provigil (a.k.a. Modafinil).
Anyone who’s a smoker should stop smoking as soon as they’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. This is important because smoking makes sleep apnea worse by increasing the inflammation and fluid in your throat and upper airway.
Smoking isn’t the only thing you should avoid. It would help if you also avoided sedatives (e.g., sleeping pills, alcohol), especially right before you go to sleep since they relax your throat muscles and interfere with your breathing. Try replacing bad habits like these with good ones like regular exercise to help you lose weight and optimize the amount of oxygen your body takes in, as well as how it uses is.
Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea
Failure to treat sleep apnea may result in serious consequences that’d shorten your life. These things range from minor (e.g., high blood pressure, heart disease) to major (e.g., falling asleep while you’re driving, having a stroke, heart attack, heart failure – due to irregular heartbeats caused by sleep apnea) in nature. Studies have also shown that sleep apnea often contributes to things like diabetes and depression. Regardless of how minor or major the symptoms of sleep apnea may be in your mind, you don’t want to develop any of them.
You especially don’t want to die because you’ve developed sleep apnea. Of course, the likelihood of this happening will depend upon the severity of your case. This is something that was discussed in a 2008 study by the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort in which they discovered 42% of people with severe sleep apnea do die from it because of it resulting in heart problems (ultimately what killed the person).
To determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea, contact us here at Cornelius Dental Clinic by calling (971) 317-9323.