90 million Americans snore, and about 45 million suffer from sleep apnea. Snoring and sleep apnea may have similar symptoms, but there are key differences between the two. Snoring may be annoying, but is not as severe as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a common sleep disorder. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious problem in which breathing pauses during sleep.
Regular snoring may not wake you up, but with OSA you wake up often to breathe normally again. When you fall asleep, the tissues in your airways relax and become smaller. However, problems arise when something blocks your airway and you stop breathing. In severe cases, if a person with OSA does not wake up, they could have a stroke, heart attack, or even die because of the condition.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Austin, TX
If you have often found yourself waking up and struggling to breathe, Austin Dental Care has sleep apnea treatment options for you. Dr. Wainwright will determine if your snoring is related to sleep apnea with a thorough sleep medicine evaluation. Dr. Wainwright may find that you need oral appliance therapy if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you have more severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you may need to consider CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy, or a surgical outpatient procedure.
We first recommend an oral appliance (night guard) before anything else because it is the least intrusive and most comfortable solution for most patients. Oral appliances are similar to mouthguards in that they are custom-fit to each and every patient. However, they are different in the way that they open up the airway for optimal air flow, and relax jaw muscles so that you can sleep soundly. Learn about the common signs of sleep apnea below.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Look for the signs that may lead to sleep apnea:
- Sleeping with your mouth open
- Consistent and loud snoring
- Excessive fatigue in the daytime
- Feeling like you have to wake up to breathe
You will need a professional medical diagnosis and prompt treatment if you consistently experience these symptoms.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Can you leave sleep apnea untreated?
Sleep apnea may cause many life threatening issues, and can shorten a patients life expectancy if not treated. Each episode reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. It can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and strokes.
What foods cause sleep apnea?
Foods high in dairy can make the effects of sleep apnea worse. It is important for patients with sleep apnea to eat healthy. The worst foods for patients with sleep apnea include bananas, dairy, alcohol, meats, and carbohydrates. For example, bananas and foods high in fat or dairy increase the body’s production of mucus, which may cause unnecessary and extra blockages in your airways.
Does exercise and walking prevent sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea may be worse for patients who are overweight, or lack a basic exercise routine. Walking and weight training can reduce the severity of sleep apnea by up to 25%. If you have sleep apnea, maintaining a healthy weight and being sure to exercise will help prevent future apneas.
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Many patients with sleep apnea experience snoring, fatigue through the day, dry mouth, headaches, and waking up in the night gasping for air before being aware that it is sleep apnea. If you are experiencing any of these and are concerned, schedule a visit with your dentist or board certified doctor and they will be able to schedule a sleep study to determine if you are suffering from the effects of sleep apnea.
Does sleep apnea get progressively worse?
Yes, sleep apnea is a progressive disorder, which means that it often gets worse over time. The more often you have these episodes, the less oxygen your body gets. This can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, premature death and stroke.
Request a Sleep Apnea Consultation Today
Dr. Glen Wainwright is a dentist in Austin, Texas that treats sleep apnea patients using oral appliance therapy. He collaborates with patients at Austin Dental Care to make sure that they get care that is comfortable and effective. Get sleep apnea treatment in Austin, TX by calling 512-518-6392. Request an appointment with Dr. Wainwright and his dental staff online today.