Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interruptions in normal breathing throughout the night. While snoring is not always indicative of sleep apnea, there is a high correlation between the two. Some statistics suggest that over 18 million Americans are impacted by sleep apnea—and that over half of these men and women are unaware they are affected by the condition. If you are troubled by sleep apnea, experienced dentist Dr. Dean Lodding and our experienced team can find a treatment to effectively relieve your symptoms and help you get a full, restful night’s sleep once again.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
When the muscles and soft tissues of the throat, tongue, and nasal passages become overly relaxed during sleep, the airways can narrow and prevent sufficient oxygen flow. These collapsing airways are the cause of sleep apnea, and can quickly manifest symptoms such as severe snoring and teeth grinding or clenching. Individuals with sleep apnea can experience interruptions of breath that last up to ten seconds, leading to some serious health risks when left untreated. Since many people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed, oftentimes a partner or family member raises concerns first about the condition.
Sleep Apnea Health Risks
One of the first side effects to develop from sleep apnea is a chronic feeling of fatigue or sluggishness due to constant interruptions of sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health concerns, including:
- Short-term memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Gastric reflux
- Heart disease
In severe cases of sleep apnea, the condition may even cause sudden cardiac death. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, attaining a proper diagnosis and receiving treatment is essential for avoiding these health risks and once again feeling well rested.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The first step to receiving treatment for sleep apnea is attaining a proper diagnosis. Typically, a sleep study is necessary to accurately ascertain the source of your symptoms. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, our dentists can then help find a treatment method that works for you.
Oftentimes, a customized oral appliance (night guard or snore guard) will keep the air passages open during the night, offering many individuals substantial relief. In more severe cases, an air mask worn over the nose and mouth (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device or CPAP) may be more effective. Once you can sleep again without uninterrupted breathing, you should feel more energized, alert, and focused during the day. Most patients experience an improvement in their overall quality of life after finding the proper treatment for their sleep apnea.
To learn more about sleep apnea, or to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified Elgin dentists to identify an ideal treatment method for you, please contact our office today.