Why You Shouldn't Ignore Sleep Apnea and How We Can Help
You may avoid addressing the heavy snoring and intermittent waking associated with sleep apnea because the typical treatment -- a loud, bulky CPAP machine -- is a hassle. But sleep apnea does more than disturb your bedroom partner -- which is significant enough. Sleep apnea can lead to long-term health problems.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
Heavy snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea, but not the only one. You may have instances in which you stop breathing as you sleep or are gasping for air in the middle of the night. If you awaken with a morning headache or a dry mouth or sore throat, it may mean your airway is blocked occasionally during sleep. You may be irritable, have trouble focusing, and experience excessive daytime sleepiness, too.
What causes sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is usually a result of soft tissue collapsing into your throat as you sleep. This blocks the flow of air, so your brain awakens you, causing you to shift and resupply your system with oxygen. You’re at particular risk for sleep apnea if you:
- Are older
- Are overweight
- Have a narrow airway
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
Long-term effects of sleep apnea
The oxygen deprivation and poor sleep schedule caused by sleep apnea can have serious effects on your health. It’s important to treat sleep apnea to prevent long-term damage to your health and quality of life.
You may suffer from excessive daytime fatigue, making it hard to concentrate at school or work. Irritability and depression can be other effects of sleep apnea. It can also lead to falling asleep while driving, which can cause serious accidents.
Metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, are also linked to sleep apnea. Metabolic syndrome describes a disorder in which you have the combined issues of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and a large waist, all of which increase your risk of heart disease.
Sleep apnea makes you more likely to have liver problems, complications with general anesthesia during surgery, or severe side effects with certain medications.
When your oxygen levels drop dramatically due to sleep apnea, it strains your cardiovascular system. As a result, having sleep apnea greatly increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Treatments for sleep apnea
Dr. Patti works with your sleep physician to help you treat sleep apnea. She offers alternatives to uncomfortable and noisy CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines.
Oral appliances that help keep your airway open as you sleep are valid alternatives. They’re more comfortable than CPAP, plus they’re portable and easy to clean. Dr. Patti customizes the fit for your oral appliance so it’s comfortable while you sleep.
Don’t ignore the sleepless nights, health risks, and disturbances to your partner as you snore and awaken with sleep apnea. Treatment can be simple and effective with a dental appliance.
To find out more about how Dr. Patti can help you restore restful nights and ease the symptoms of sleep apnea, contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville by phone or book an appointment online.