Not getting enough sleep takes you off your game. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your brain and your body just don’t work well the next day. That kind of dysfunction is unpleasant for anyone. But for folks with sleep apnea, it can become a serious problem.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Dr. Ryan Crain offers sleep apnea treatment here in our Willow Park, TX dentist office because he never wants his patients to suffer from these kinds of sleep apnea symptoms:
Sore or dry throat upon awakening
Sleepiness or lack of energy throughout the day
Disturbed or restless sleep
Sleep Apnea Effects
While these symptoms are certainly unpleasant, long-term sleep apnea effects are far worse. They may include serious conditions such as:
High blood pressure
Learning and memory problems
That is why it’s so important to treat sleep apnea.
If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, call Texas Grins at 817-779-7111 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
So what causes sleep apnea? With this condition, your breathing is briefly but frequently interrupted during sleep. In fact, many folks suspect they have sleep apnea because their partners notice them gasping for breath while sleeping.
There are two different causes of sleep apnea:
Tissue in the back of your throat collapses during sleep, blocking your airway
Or, less common, your brain doesn’t signal your muscles to breathe
Sleep apnea is more common if you:
Are a man
Are over age 40
Have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
Have a big neck (17-plus inches for men, more than 16 inches for women)
Have a small upper airway
Have a large tongue, tonsils, or uvula
Have a deviated septum
Getting a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
To get a sleep apnea diagnosis, you’ll need to get a sleep study. These often occur at a sleep center, though some doctors will provide you with equipment to monitor your sleep at home.
Among the areas that will be evaluated during a sleep study are:
Heart rate and rhythm
Blood oxygen levels
How We Treat Sleep Apnea
If you’ve had a sleep study within the last five years or so, Dr. Crain is happy to consult with you. If you haven’t had a sleep study yet, that is the first step. He’ll advise you to work with your physician to arrange to get one.
If you have a sleep study that indicates sleep apnea, we offer two treatment options, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, or a custom oral appliance.
With the CPAP, you wear a small mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. It is connected to a machine that provides a steady flow of air. This is the most common form of treatment for sleep apnea.
There are three different types of CPAP masks. Dr. Crain can help determine which one will work best for you.
Nasal CPAP mask, which covers just your nose
Nasal pillows, which use small plastic inserts that fit directly into your nostrils
Full-face CPAP mask, which covers your nose and mouth
Some CPAP masks work best for mouth breathers, while others are better for those who breathe through their nose. Some do a better job than others at preventing air leakage.
And depending on personal preference, you may find some of the masks more comfortable than others to wear. Comfort is important because studies have found that many people give up on wearing a CPAP. The more comfortable it is, the higher the odds you’ll continue to wear it.
We can also create a custom oral appliance for you that may offer sleep apnea relief. Appliances work by gently shifting your lower jaw and mouth to help keep your airway open. One of the biggest advantages of an appliance is that most people find it less obtrusive and uncomfortable than the CPAP.
Other Ways to Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms
There are other things you can do to minimize your sleep apnea symptoms. We may recommend that you:
• Lose weight
• Avoid alcohol, especially at night
• Quit smoking
• Sleep on your side instead of your back
In addition to oral appliances for sleep apnea, Dr. Crain also makes oral appliances to prevent teeth grinding at night. Teeth grinding can cause chronic headaches, and it may contribute to a condition called TMJ disorder.
If your sleep isn’t restful and you think sleep apnea could be the cause, call Texas Grins in Willow Park, TX at 817-779-7111.