Stop Snoring and Sleep Better
Snoring is a common condition, and it’s one that most people assume to be relatively harmless. While this is true in some cases, it may actually point to a much more severe and potentially dangerous disorder – sleep apnea. While multiple types of sleep apnea exist, the most common is obstructive sleep apnea, which is characterized by constant pauses in breathing while someone is asleep. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, and serious consequences can follow if no therapy is conducted. That’s why Dr. Gutschow and her team at Innovative Dental Care want to help people as soon as possible.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
It’s important for people to be able to breathe regularly and consistently while sleeping. When the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, they can minimize or even completely close your airway, causing obstructive sleep apnea. As a result, your oxygen levels can be lowered to such a dangerous degree that your brain sends out an emergency signal, urging you to wake up and readjust your airway to allow proper flow once more. This awakening is usually so brief that you may not even be aware of it; in fact, you may think you had a full, satisfying night of sleep! Sadly, these pauses can occur hundreds of times each night, disturbing your most restful phases.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Excessive daytime exhaustion, no matter how many hours you slept the night before
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the mornings
- Headaches in the morning
- Chest pain in the morning
- Issues with memory and concentration
- Pauses in breathing, sudden choking, or gasping when sleeping
Common Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
- Being overweight
- Having a large neck
- The presence of high blood pressure
- Having a naturally small throat/airway
- Experiencing consistent chronic nasal congestion at night
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Routine smoking and alcohol use
- Being male
- Being over the age of 50
- Tooth crowding
- Small mouth/jaw
Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a significant medical condition and one that can lead to complications involving the patient’s overall well-being. These include:
- Cardiovascular concerns: Significant drops in your oxygen levels can increase your blood pressure and have dire effects on your heart. In fact, coronary disease, heart attacks, and strokes are all more common for those with sleep apnea.
- Higher risk of car accidents: The lack of restful sleep caused by sleep apnea can lead to serious problems with concentration and fatigue, even causing patients to fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Problems involving medication and surgery: Certain medications may worsen obstructive sleep apnea, and complications following surgery can be more common.
- Diabetes: There is scientific evidence that a lack of sleep could cause patients to achieve a pre-diabetic state. These conditions also connect the other way, as the presence of diabetes can contribute to sleep loss.
- Erectile dysfunction: Studies have shown that the presence of sleep apnea may increase the likelihood of male patients experiencing erectile dysfunction.