Understanding & Treating Sleep Apnea
Many people are often unaware of their waking episodes during the night. It usually isn’t diagnosed unless a sleeping partner notices the unusual sleep patterns or the person undergoes a sleep study. Although snoring is a common warning sign, as is daytime sleepiness, as many as 12 million Americans have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition in which your breathing stops during sleep. Most often, this is because your airway collapses when your muscles relax during sleep. Your throat is literally choking you. Your heart responds to the lack of oxygen by pumping harder, leading to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, and your brain is forced to awaken partially, so you never reach the restorative levels of sleep, which results in even more physical and psychological problems.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops during the night, forcing your brain to awake slightly to resume breathing. There are two types of sleep apnea, and people can suffer from both.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of the condition. This type if apnea is when your breathing stops because your airway collapses. This occurs because at night when you are lying down, gravity pulls your airway closed, and the muscles that normally hold your airway open relax. The only good support for your airway is your jaw, and if it is in the wrong position, it cannot perform its function. This is the type of sleep apnea that is associated with snoring and is more common in people who are obese, older, and predominantly male.
- Central Sleep Apnea is when breathing stops because the brain stops ordering the body to breathe, although this type is rare.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Part of the reason why so many sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed is that the symptoms may seem to be associated with many different conditions, or may be dismissed by people altogether. Symptoms may include:
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth and throat irritation
- Daytime sleepiness
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
In addition, people with sleep apnea may be diagnosed with other illnesses, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Mood disorders
- Heart attack
Although these other conditions may be associated with many potential causes, sleep apnea links many of them, and people with all of these diagnoses are more likely to have sleep apnea.
Find Help for Sleep Apnea in San Antonio
Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Do you have suspicious sleep apnea symptoms like daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, high blood pressure, and snoring? Are you looking for a more comfortable sleep apnea treatment option?
If you live in or around San Antonio, we would love to help. Our practice has decades of experience helping patients throughout San Antonio, Texas. Our specialists offer sleep apnea treatment using comfortable, effective, and noninvasive options with a variety of sleep apnea oral appliances.
Please contact our San Antonio sleep apnea specialists at Enhance Dental today to get a free consultation and learn more about how we can help with your sleep apnea treatment. Schedule a consult today!