Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which your breathing starts and stops repeatedly during sleep. It is fairly common and fortunately, it is also treatable. If you think you are dealing with sleep apnea, it is important to obtain a diagnosis and get treatment so you can avoid severe side effects of the…
Potential Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that leads to a person's breathing being interrupted while they sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to health issues like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and it increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages from toddlers to adults. The symptoms often vary based on the age of the patient.
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea
Think you have sleep apnea? Here are some of the things you should be looking out for:
- Loud snoring noises during sleep
- Waking up gasping for air or choking
- Waking up to use the bathroom frequently
- Waking up with a headache
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Waking up due to shortness of breath
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
- Mood swings and irritability
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Decreased sex drive
Research conducted by John Hopkins medicine shows that about 3% of children have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder can lead to learning issues, behavioral issues, and difficulty getting along with peers. Signs that a child has sleep apnea include a poor attention span, lower school grades, and difficulty leaning. Other signs that should be looked out for are snoring and mouth breathing, bedwetting issues, and the child feeling sleepy during the day.
The importance of treating sleep apnea
Failing to treat sleep apnea leaves you vulnerable to a variety of health issues. It can make problems like Type 2 diabetes worse, and it increases your risk of developing health issues such as heart disease, depression, or hypertension.
One of the popular ways to treat sleep apnea involves the use of an oral appliance. These appliances are provided by dentists. They are customized for each patient and made from an impression of the patient’s teeth. The dentist takes an impression of the patient's teeth by asking them to bite down on the mold. The mold is then sent to a lab that makes oral appliances and other dental restorations. The process takes about two weeks for the customized oral appliance to get back to the dentist.
Once their appliance is ready, the dentist will educate the patient on how to insert, remove, and clean their device. The oral appliance should be used each night and it helps to keep a person's airway open during sleep reducing the number of interruptions they experience throughout the night.
Some of the oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea keep the tongue in the proper position during sleep, while others help to keep the jaw in its proper position. Oral appliances are typically seen as a more convenient option than continuous pressure airway pressure machines (CPAP), and they are a lot easier to transport.
Get treatment for sleep apnea
Ready to put sleep apnea behind you? Call our Baltimore clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.
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