Sleep ApneaAn Overview
Did you know that your dentist may be able to help you treat your sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a progressive condition that can affect a patient’s health and quality of life. Obstructive sleep apnea commonly goes undiagnosed and can result in multiple health complications. Understanding the signs and symptoms of the condition can help patients find treatment before secondary health conditions develop.
OSA is caused by the obstruction of the airway during sleep. The obstruction is typically caused by relaxed, soft tissues in the throat or mouth. When patients are unable to breathe properly, the body is deprived of oxygen flow.
Patients commonly wake many times during the night gasping for air due to a cessation of normal breathing. Patients with sleep apnea experience interrupted sleep and may experience chronic fatigue.
Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose as many patients have no memory of waking while asleep. If you notice any changes in your sleep pattern or changes in your health, be sure to inform your dentist or doctor.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
If you notice that you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, be sure to let your doctor or dentist know right away. Early diagnosis of sleep apnea helps reduce the risk of further complications.
- Snoring loudly
- Waking up gasping for air repeatedly
- Chronic fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Waking up with a dry mouth
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
While anyone could develop sleep apnea, there are specific demographics at a higher risk. If any of these risk factors apply to you, even if you show no other signs of sleep apnea, you may consider a sleep study to test for OSA.
- Males (more likely than females)
- Patients over 40
- Large neck circumference
- Family history of sleep apnea
Health Conditions & Sleep Apnea
Left untreated sleep apnea can begin to deteriorate a patient’s health. Sleep apnea has been linked to a range of health conditions and patients with OSA are more likely to experience:
- Heart attacks
- High blood pressure