Sleep apnea is a rather common condition that can affect your health. It can make you feel tired all day long or feel chronic headaches, while also putting you at risk for severe issues like heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
So, let’s get into the skinny of this difficult to diagnose condition – and find out what you can do about it!
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a pause in breathing or extremely shallow breathing during sleep. This issue can kick one out of a deep sleep and into a light sleep, causing daytime drowsiness and not allowing your body to go through the proper sleep cycle that is necessary for good health.
There are two kinds of sleep apnea. These are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A condition where your airway becomes blocked or collapses while sleeping.
Central Sleep Apnea: A less common condition where your brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, causing pauses in breathing.
Both issues are hard to diagnose, because they happen while you are sleeping. However, if you sleep with a partner, the symptoms of sleep apnea may become obvious to him or her. These include:
- Loud or chronic snoring
- Choking or gasping while sleeping
- Daytime exhaustion or drowsiness
- Waking up with a headache
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Waking up frequently – even if it’s just to urinate
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
If you have one or several of these symptoms, you may be experiencing sleep apnea.
Am I At Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Certain types of people with particular builds and family history are more at risk for sleep apnea than others. Here are the main groups at risk:
- Those who are overweight
- Anyone over the age of 40
- A person with a large neck (17” or more for men and 16” or more for women)
- Someone with large tonsils, and oversized tongue, or a small jawbone
- Those with a family history of sleep apnea
- Anyone who commonly experiences heartburn or acid reflux
- Individuals with sinus problems, allergies, or other nasal obstructions
Just because you are in an “at risk” group doesn’t mean have sleep apnea. However, if you are in one or more of these groups, you may want to ask a partner or friend to let you know if you have any of the sleep apnea symptoms. Additionally, if you have a child that falls into these categories (perhaps a boy with allergies and enlarged tonsils) it may be a good idea for you to check in on them as they sleep.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Those of you who have or suspect you have sleep apnea don’t have to suffer with the exhaustion, headaches, and potential health risks caused by this condition. There are treatment options available for sleep apnea.
Treatments include lifestyle changes like weight loss, quitting smoking, and sleeping on one’s side. There are also mouthpieces and breathing devices available to those who need more than a lifestyle change.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, set up an appointment here at Beavercreek Dental. Dr. Kim can consult with you, go over your symptoms, and discuss the appropriate treatment for your needs. Sleep apnea can often be treated with simple, comfortable solutions – so don’t suffer through one more night of disturbed sleep! Contact us today!