Sleep apnea does more than annoy your partner. It can increase your risk of developing hypertension and experiencing daytime fatigue.
About 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but the condition’s complications are easy to prevent.
To help you out, we asked our specialists at AnnMarie Olson, DDS, PA, all about sleep apnea. Read on to learn about sleep apnea symptoms and find out how custom night guards can treat the condition.
Sleep apnea 101
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which you stop breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of apnea, occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airways close, preventing the sufferer from breathing a few seconds at a time.
Central sleep apnea is rarer, and it occurs when the brain doesn’t send the proper messages to control breathing. Although the cause of central sleep apnea is unknown, the condition occurs more often in people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety management usually improves sleep.
If breathing patterns are interrupted five to 15 times per hour, the sleep apnea is mild. Fifteen to 35 interruptions per hour are categorized as moderate sleep apnea, and anything above 35 interruptions per hour is categorized as severe sleep apnea.
Although some people may not know they have sleep apnea, their partners may notice the signs. Loud snoring and interruptions in breathing are two easy-to-spot symptoms. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:
- Headaches throughout the day
- Tiredness and dizziness
- Problems learning and staying focused
- Depressive moods
- Sore throat
Here are other factors that may increase your risk for sleep apnea:
- Thick neck
- Nasal congestion
- Narrowed airways
- Misaligned teeth
- Alcohol or sedative use
Certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disorders, and chronic lung conditions may also increase someone’s risk for sleep apnea.
Dental solution for sleep apnea
Our specialists recommend customized oral appliances that you can wear during sleep. These appliances keep your airways open throughout the night, which reduces snoring and improves the quality of your sleep. And because these oral appliances improve your breathing patterns, they can prevent you from being fatigued throughout the day.
Although it may take you some time to get used to sleeping with one of these appliances, the discomfort you’ll experience is minimal.
If either you or your partner suspects sleep apnea, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our specialists can help you determine if an oral appliance may improve the quality of your sleep.