You go to bed at a normal time, but find yourself fighting exhaustion during the day. Your partner complains about your snoring. You are moody, irritable, and just not yourself.
You are beginning to suspect you may have sleep apnea.
Good for you for recognizing the signs. Sleep apnea is common — believed to inflict 1 in 5 adults — but seriously underdiagnosed, with as many as 80% of sufferers not even aware they have it. And the consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be deadly. If you live in the Edgewood, KY region and believe you have sleep apnea, call Edgewood Dental Care right away at 859-474-7830. We will arrange for you to undergo a sleep study and, after receiving the results, set you up with the solution that makes sense for you.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is far more than merely snoring, or an inconvenience that leads to a reduced quality of life. (Although it most definitely does the latter!) When you have sleep apnea, you actually stop breathing throughout the night. These cessations of breath can happen dozens of times each hour, or hundreds of times every night!
There are two types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common. This is when a physical obstruction — most commonly, soft tissue hanging down from the back of the throat — blocks the airway. This leads to poor, frequently interrupted sleep, which in turn results in tiredness and difficulty functioning during the day. In addition, sleep apnea may lead to or exacerbate serious chronic diseases and conditions including:
- Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
If you are overweight, sleep apnea may make it more difficult to drop the extra pounds. (As if it’s not tough enough!) Sleep apnea increases the likelihood of being killed or seriously injured in a car or heavy machinery accident, due to the fatigue that it causes. And let’s not forget the long-suffering partner. People who share a bed with a snorer also sleep poorly and are susceptible to the consequences.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can strike any person at any age, even children. But certain factors can put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
- Being a man
- Having a naturally large neck or narrowed airway
- Being over age 40
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Alcohol use
- Nasal congestion or obstruction
How Do I Know Whether I Have Sleep Apnea?
The only way to know for sure is to be diagnosed by a professional. But if you experience the following symptoms, we suggest calling Edgewood Dental Care for a consultation.
- Loud snoring
- Frequent nighttime wakening or insomnia
- Dry or sore throat in the mornings
- Daytime fatigue
- Mood changes
- Forgetfulness and difficulty focusing
- Periods of not breathing during sleep (as witnessed by a partner)
How Will My Sleep Apnea Be Treated?
If you come in for a sleep apnea consultation at Edgewood Dental Care, one of our doctors will perform an examination and discuss your history. If warranted, the doctor will order a sleep study. Many doctors have patients go to a sleep lab for the study, which requires an overnight stay at an unfamiliar location. We use the Sleep Optima at-home sleep kit, which gives accurate results about how you actually sleep in your own bed.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, we will likely treat you in one of two ways. We can build a custom snore guard, an oral appliance that keeps your airway open while you sleep. A mouthguard can also help if you snore but don’t have sleep apnea.
In more severe cases, we may suggest a CPAP machine, which keeps the airway open with a continuous flow of pressurized air. The air is delivered via a small mask you place over your face.
If you believe you have sleep apnea, don’t delay in getting a diagnosis and treatment. At Edgewood Dental Care of Edgewood, KY, we will get you breathing well through the entire night. Fill out our online form or give us a call at 859-474-7830.