Has your partner been complaining that you snore? Do you find that you are more tired during the day than you should be? If you are experiencing signs of disrupted or low-quality sleep, don’t dismiss them. You may have sleep apnea.
Far from just an inconvenience, this is a serious sleep disorder with potentially deadly consequences. It puts you at an increased risk for motor vehicle and workplace accidents due to fatigue, and it increases your likelihood for having a heart attack, stroke, and developing diabetes. It can affect the health of your loved ones, as well. It’s estimated that a person may lose up to a hour of sleep each night due to a partner’s snoring.
Don’t muddle through life tired, undiagnosed, and untreated. At Texas Grins Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, we have solutions to improve your sleep and your health. Call our Willow Park, TX office at 817-779-7111.
An Obstructed Airway, Cessation of Breath
The word apnea refers to a temporary cessation of breath, and that is exactly what happens — you literally stop breathing as you sleep. This may occur hundreds of times every night. The most common form of the disorder is obstructive. This means your airway is being physically blocked, stopping your ability to breath. Typically, the culprit is collapsed soft tissue from the back of the throat. Snoring is just the beginning. Other sleep apnea symptoms may include:
- Frequent and abrupt awakenings, which may be accompanied by shortness of breath.
- Waking up in the morning with a headache, dry mouth, or sore throat.
- Chronic insomnia.
- Inability to focus during the day.
- Mood problems and irritability.
- Excessive daytime fatigue.
- Sleepy driving.
- Periods of breathing cessation at night witnessed by another person.
Understand Your Risk
The disorder may affect anyone, even children. But some factors put you at a much higher risk.
- People who are obese are four times more likely to suffer from the sleep disorder than normal-weight people. Fat deposits around the airway may obstruct breathing.
- Neck circumference plays a role. People with thicker necks (17”+ for men, 15”+ for women) are likely to have narrower airways.
- Men are two times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than women (though women’s risk increases after menopause).
- Your risk goes up with age.
- There is a genetic factor. You are more likely to get the condition if it runs in your family.
- Alcohol and certain drugs will relax the muscles in your throat, causing collapse and blockage.
- Smoking promotes fluid retention and inflammation in the upper airway, increasing your risk threefold.
A well-known therapy is a machine called a CPAP. While this may be highly effective, the machine is large, cumbersome, and many people find it uncomfortable to use. This leads to a high rate of noncompliance.
At Texas Grins Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, we have a much simpler solution. We can craft a custom oral appliance for you to wear at night. It comfortably repositions your jaw so that your airway remains open and blockage-free as you sleep. Finally, you (and your partner) will get the rest you need.
For a sleep apnea consultation at Texas Grins, you may contact us online or call our Willow Park, TX dental office at 817-779-7111.