Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which happens when a person’s airway collapses during sleep, causing a blockage of airflow throughout the body.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of stroke, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Sleep apnea may be caused by posture, genetics, enlarged tonsils, or other health conditions. Understanding the signs of sleep apnea can get you one step closer to the care you need. If you or your partners notice the signs of sleep apnea, it is important to visit a medical professional for a consultation.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is snoring. While snoring can be disruptive, it is sometimes an indication of a more advanced health condition. For some patients, snoring and sleep apnea go hang in hand, meaning that patients who snore may have some form of sleep apnea.
For patients with sleep apnea, the body does not get the appropriate amount of oxygen it needs, causing the patient to gasp during sleep, wake up numerous times, and struggle to breathe.
Patients with sleep apnea may also experience one or more of these signs:
- Dry mouth
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty focusing
- Weight gain
- Poor memory or concentration
- Restless sleep
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Gasping for air
- Headaches or migraines, especially in the morning
If you notice one or more of these signs, contact our Ashburn area dental practice for sleep apnea care. Our team can help coordinate a home sleep study and get you one step closer to better sleep.
Treating Sleep Apnea At The Dentist
There are a number of different treatment options for sleep apnea. The most common solution for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and is used to help people with sleep apnea breathe regularly during sleep.
It is designed to increase the air pressure in the throat, which prevents your airway from collapsing when you breathe.
Another solution for sleep apnea is oral sleep appliance therapy. An oral sleep appliance, or sleep guard, is similar to a mouthguard or orthodontic retainer. It is custom-designed to fit comfortably in your mouth and works by keeping the airway open and preventing it from collapsing.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
What is the life expectancy of someone with sleep apnea?
The life expectancy of a patient with sleep apnea who is under 50 years old is between 8 and 18 years. If patients receive the treatment they are likely to live longer, with fewer excess health complications than those who do not receive treatment.
What happens if you leave sleep apnea untreated?
If you do not treat sleep apnea, patients are much more likely to suffer from other health problems (specifically in the heart) such as heart failure, heart attacks, and an irregular heartbeat. Patients are also more likely to have high blood pressure or a stroke.
What is the best position to sleep in if you have sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea the position you sleep in can heavily affect your quality of sleep. Sleeping with your back as straight as possible will help the most with sleep apnea. Some research done by the Sleep Better Council has shown that sleeping on your left side is the best position to sleep if you suffer from sleep apnea.
Visit Us For A Sleep Apnea Consultation
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, explore your treatment options at brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics. Dr. Kavianpour and our team can work with you to find an effective sleep apnea treatment option to improve your quality of sleep. If you would like to explore your treatment options for sleep apnea, visit our Sterling, VA dental practice.