As a dentist, we offer a wide variety of information about your oral health. We believe it’s our duty to be the first resource for everything from sedation dentistry to alleviate your anxiety about going to the dentist to pediatric dentistry to answer those questions about your little one’s loose tooth. We pride ourselves on offering services that will keep your teeth shiny, healthy, and sparkling.
At Lifetime Smiles, we strive to answer all of your questions that have to do with oral health and one of those questions that we want to address today is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is one of the most serious disorders because it interrupts the deep breathing of someone who is sleeping. If you feel like you could have sleep apnea, then take some time to talk to the dentist to learn more about a diagnosis and treatment options.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when you are sleeping. It should be taken very seriously because it affects the breathing while you are sleeping. It can make you stop breathing, which stops oxygen from making its way to the brain and the rest of your body. The soft tissue at the back of your throat is connected to the central nervous system and when there is snoring that disrupts the tissue in the back of your throat, then the signals to the brain that control the breathing are liable to fail, which cuts off your air supply.
There are two different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and it blocks the air passage of the soft tissue in the back of your throat, which causes the throat to collapse when you sleep. The second type is called central sleep apnea and it doesn’t block the airway, but it doesn’t allow the brain to signal to the muscles to breathe because of the unreliability of the respiratory control center.
The Likely Candidates For Sleep Apnea
The people who are at risk for sleep apnea come down to the lifestyle that is lead and the history. For example, people who are more prone to sleep apnea are those who are obese. In addition, age is also a factor. Sleep apnea occurs mostly in men, but it can occur in women as well as children. Other factors that could put you at risk for sleep apnea are having a larger neck around 16 to 17 inches, large tonsils, a history of sleep apnea in the family, GERD, and nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum or allergies.
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Yes! Sleep apnea can be very dangerous because it hinders your breathing. As we addressed above, sleep apnea can cut off the air supply to your brain, which causes oxygen to make its way through your body. Oxygen is something that is needed to survive and when that’s limited, then you could be harmed. It’s vital that you have sleep apnea treated because it can cause many different health problems. Besides for feeling tired and not getting enough oxygen to your body, sleep apnea can affect the rest of your body. If it goes untreated, you could be a candidate for depression, diabetes, heart failure, strokes, high blood pressure, and develop headaches. While no one wants to deal with a searing headache, you especially don’t want to worry about cardiovascular issues and your mental health.
The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
If you’re wondering if you have sleep apnea, then there are some simple ways that you can figure out if you may need to visit a doctor to get a diagnosis and figure out a treatment. Keep in mind that it’s important that you talk to a doctor before you decided to jump to conclusions about whether or not you have sleep apnea. The best peace of mind is talking to a doctor about what might be going on with you. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Waking up with a dry throat
- Restless sleep
- Lack of energy
- Waking up a lot
- Mood changes
- Disinterest in sex
- Sleepiness while driving
- Waking with a gasping sensation
- Waking up with a choking sensation
The Treatment Options
There are many treatment options. Stop into Lifetime Smiles to talk to our dentist about how we can help you with a diagnosis and treatment options. While sleep apnea is serious, it is treatable.