There are literally millions of people who suffer from Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is when there is a cessation of breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds or longer.
Quite often, it is your bed partner that notices you snoring or gasping and choking while asleep. Read on to learn more about the warning signs of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea interrupts your breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses last at least 10 seconds and may occur countless times during sleep. The time in which you are not breathing, means that the cells of your body are being deprived of oxygen. This translates into fragmented or light sleep which leaves you feeling unrefreshed in the morning. This light sleep frequently diminishes your performance during the day.
Lack of sleep from sleep apnea often results in poor reflexes, lack of concentration and for drivers (especially truck drivers) there is an increased risk of getting into an accident. In addition, sleep apnea is associated with other medical conditions which include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, stroke, and weight gain among others.
However, don’t despair, there are effective treatments at hand and within no time you can get your sleep and life back on track.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common form of sleep apnea is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). O.S.A frequently occurs when you go to sleep and are lying on your back. The soft tissue (your soft palate, tonsils and tongue) at the back of your throat is relaxed and falls back blocking the airway often resulting in loud snoring. As mentioned previously, the cessation of airflow that occurs results in a decrease in oxygen in your system. This lack of oxygen causes your brain to respond and kick-start your breathing process. A gasp or choking sound is often heard from individuals during an episode of sleep apnea…you are actually suffocating for periods of time during the night.
Dentists and health professionals alike have closely been studying the causes of sleep apnea and are always looking for treatments of this disorder. Anyone can have sleep apnea; however, those who smoke, consume alcohol and take sedatives are more at risk. Individuals who are overweight, over the age of 65, male, and related to someone who has sleep apnea, are more prone to having this problem. In addition, those who also have a large neck circumference, or have a large tongue and tonsils or small jaw bones, are also more prone to suffer from sleep apnea.
Know the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea: Take Control of Your Sleep and Life
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is feeling tired or fatigued during the day. People might even find themselves nodding off at work and while driving; many desire a nap during the day.
There are many other common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea; these include waking up during the wee hours of the morning to urinate, dry mouth, a sore throat in the morning, mood swings/irritability, bouts of depression, memory loss, lack of concentration and waking up with a headache.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
There are many solutions in preventing and treating sleep apnea. Dentists and health professionals recommend that those who suffer from sleep apnea should sleep on their side.
For those with nasal congestion, one can try to use sprays or breathing strips to open up your breathing passage. Lifestyle changes are also important in treating the problem. Quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol before bedtime are highly recommended. The same holds true with sleeping pills and other sedatives as they relax the muscles in the throat which reduces the ability to breathe properly.
A healthy diet and a regular exercise routine are also important. Losing excess weight is also very helpful in reducing the severity of sleep apnea.
Sleep Tight: There are Treatments for Sleep Apnea – Ask your dentist about Intra-Oral Appliances.
Some of the more popular ways to treat Sleep Apnea are:
Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP): This is a device that delivers air into a mask that covers your nose and sometimes your mouth. This forced air helps to keep the airways open during sleep.
Mandibular Advancing Devices (M.A.Ds): These are oral devices which include the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue retaining device. These ‘appliances’ open up the airway by pulling your lower jaw or your tongue forward while you are asleep.
M.A.Ds are routinely used for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea and also for moderate to severe sleep apnea in individuals who are not tolerating their C.P.A.P machines.
Surgery: This is performed when there is an excess of soft tissue in the back of the throat that is contributing to the airway blockage. Please note: this mode of treatment of sleep apnea is common in children, (tonsils and adenoids) however not very well received by most adults.
Call Dr. Robert Axelrad Dental Office in Brampton to learn more at (905) 791-3867 or email us.
We are located in the heart of Brampton at 40 Finchgate Boulevard, Suite 121 at Bestgate Professional Centre. We welcome new patients, walk-ins and dental emergencies for all ages.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr Axelrad and Staff