Millions of people across the United States suffer from sleep apnea. While some cases of snoring are just snoring, loud snoring can also be an indication that you’re suffering from sleep apnea. Dr. Glen Wainwright of Austin Dental Care, a dentist in Austin, TX, discusses sleep apnea and the signs you should watch out for.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse while sleeping and block airflow. Blocking your airway means that your brain and other organs aren’t getting the amount of oxygen they need to work properly.
Common signs of sleep apnea
There are many signs of sleep apnea that you may mistake for something else. It’s important to take notice of all of the symptoms you exhibit, even if it’s something you don’t think is related to sleep apnea. Often, people have multiple symptoms, and when they’re combined the sleep apnea diagnosis becomes clearer. If you have any of the following, call to schedule an appointment with your Austin, Texas dentist.
- Loud snoring
- Waking up gasping for air during sleep
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
Risks of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Because it impacts the amount of oxygen your body is receiving, it can have some severe consequences. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
- Worsening of ADHD
- Memory loss
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Low blood oxygen levels
Treating sleep apnea
When people think about sleep apnea treatment, they usually think of a CPAP machine. CPAP machines increase the air pressure in your throat while you’re sleeping so the soft tissues in the back of your throat don’t collapse. However, this machine is cumbersome and many people find it uncomfortable to wear overnight. It also can be difficult to take it with you while traveling.
At Austin Dental Care, we specialize in using oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea. Before moving forward with treatment, Dr. Wainwright will do a thorough exam to determine if your snoring problems are caused by sleep apnea. If you suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, it’s likely that oral appliance therapy will be recommended.
Like mouthguards, oral appliances are custom-fitted to your mouth to make sure they work perfectly for you. They reposition the jaw so that it’s relaxed and your airway is kept open while you’re sleeping. Many patients enjoy using an oral appliance because it’s more comfortable to sleep with and easy to take with you wherever you go.
If you’re suffering from symptoms related to sleep apnea, it’s important to get an evaluation and get treatment. Call us or schedule an appointment online to get started.