Tired Of Being Tired? It Could Be Sleep Apnea
- May 3, 2016
It’s mid-morning, and you already feel like you want to go back to bed. But you’ve got a mountain of work waiting for you. One more cup of coffee won’t hurt, right?
If daytime sleepiness is a common part of your life, maybe it’s time you called the dentist at Total Dental Care of South Carolina.
You could be suffering from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can have serious health consequences beyond feeling tired throughout the day.
At our dentist office in Columbia, we have helped several patients with our sleep apnea treatments, and we would like to help you, too.
Signs To Watch For
By some estimates, as many as 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Many of them are unaware of their condition.
How can you know if you have sleep apnea? The only way to be certain is to complete a sleep study, where you can be diagnosed.
However, there are some common symptoms that can help you know if you should be tested.
One is the daytime sleepiness that we already mentioned. Because sleep apnea interferes with your ability to get healthy sleep, you can experience sleep deprivation. This can lead to daytime sleepiness (and more serious problems, which we will get to later).
Irritability is another common symptom among people with untreated sleep apnea, which also may be related to being sleep deprived.
Another symptom — maybe the most common symptom — is loud, persistent snoring. Not only is this an indicator of problems associated with sleep apnea, it can disrupt your spouse, partner, and even people trying to sleep in nearby rooms.
You may wake up frequently during the night, and many times you may feel like you are gasping for breath. You also may wake up with headaches or dry mouth.
Effects Of Sleep Apnea
People with sleep apnea stop breathing often while they are asleep. These stoppages can last up to 30 seconds at a time. Someone with mild sleep apnea may stop breathing up to 14 times every hour that he or she is asleep.
For people with obstructive sleep apnea, these stoppages are the result of a physical issue. When someone with OSA falls asleep, the muscles around his or her airway will relax. As a result, soft tissues may obstruct their airways.
To keep you breathing in this situation, your body will wake you up. This can be for such a short amount of time, that you have no memory that it has happened.
Nevertheless, each time it happens, it disrupts your sleep, which prevents your from reaching the deep stages of sleep that you need to feel rejuvenated when you wake up.
One of the consequences of those frequent fights for breath is that you can develop high blood pressure or make your hypertension worse. Subsequently, people with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
The constant interruptions to your sleep are the reason daytime sleepiness is so common. At first glance, you may consider this just an inconvenience. Sure you may be embarrassed if your boss catches you dozing off at your desk, but you can drink some caffeine to get through the day.
Maybe that’s true, but it’s also true that people with sleep apnea are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents. This too is a result of daytime sleepiness.
How Can A Dentist Help?
Most people with sleep apnea are prescribed a CPAP machine. This blows air that keeps your airway open so you can breathe more easily when you are asleep.
If that works for you, great, but many people refuse to use their CPAP or find that the machine interferes with their sleep in other ways. The noise of the machine may prevent them from falling asleep or the mask may be irritating to their face.
Thankfully, there is an another sleep apnea treatment option, and this is how our dentist can help. We can create an oral appliance that you can wear at night. It doesn’t make any noise, and you don’t have to wear a mask for it to work.
The appliance shifts the position of your jaw. That change helps to keep your airways open. You will be able to breathe easier, and it should cut down on your snoring as well, which your family will also appreciate.
Sleep Better To Feel Better
Contact Total Dental Care of South Carolina if you have sleep apnea but are having trouble with your CPAP machine or if you suspect you may have sleep apnea. We want to help.