If you snore, it could be an annoying disruption of good sleep for your partner. But it might be a sign that you suffer from sleep apnea, a very serious, but curable, condition which is believed to afflict nearly 20 million Americans. Your dentist is an expert in sleep apnea and can provide vital help.
An apnea is an unhealthy pause in breathing that occurs while someone is sleeping, which causes the individual to start to wake up to breathe deeper, without being conscious of it. It can be the result of the brain giving the wrong signals about when to take a breath, called Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). But usually it is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a blockage of the airway. This could be due to an excess of tissue around the throat, large tonsils, or the tongue falling back when you lie on your back. The body reacts by disturbing whatever stage of sleep you are in, with many consequences.
Common symptoms that you might be suffering from sleep apnea, in addition to frequent snoring, include: °Waking up with a migraine or having frequent headaches during the day.
- Having a sore throat or the sense that the mouth is full of cotton on awakening, due to breathing through the mouth to try to get more oxygen.
- Being awakened enough to feel the need to urinate frequently, disturbing sleep.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Being tired all the time, perhaps even falling asleep in the middle of the day.
- Inability to concentrate or focus on work, a poor memory, and a slow reaction to events.
- Inattentive driving that greatly raises the risk of accident.
- Otherwise inexplicable anxiety, depression, and irritability.
The chances of having sleep apnea is raised due to obesity, drinking alcohol, taking sedatives or tranquilizers, sinus problems, having a deviated septum, frequent acid reflux, and even allergies. And untreated sleep apnea raises the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
The standard therapy doctors recommend requires the individual to wear a mask all night while sleeping on the back, which is connected to an oxygen source, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. This is uncomfortable for many and studies show that half of patients do not use it properly. A Glendale and Burbank dentist, Dr. Martirosyan has a great deal of training and experience in addressing OSA with an FDA-approved oral appliance that is worn when you sleep (and can refer you to an oral surgeon or physician to address CSA).
If you think you, your partner, or a member of your family may be suffering from sleep apnea, make an appointment today to have an examination and diagnosis.