What Is Sleep Apnea?
If you wake up frequently throughout the night and feel groggy the next morning, it’s possible that you’re experiencing sleep apnea. This is a common but serious sleep disorder that occurs when something is obstructing your airway, causing you to wake up gasping for air, and can also cause snoring.
Oftentimes your tongue falls to the back of your throat while you’re sleeping, or your throat muscles close up, causing you to experience a choking sensation.
Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Apnea
Sleep is essential for your health, and lack of sleep can take a major toll on your health. If you’re waking up frequently throughout the night, feel like you’re being choked in your sleep, or experience mood swings during the day, you may have sleep apnea and should see a doctor right away.
Everyone’s condition is different, and some sleep apnea cases can be more severe than others. One of the most common causes of sleep apnea is obesity. The excess weight can affect your throat and tongue muscles, causing them to block your airway. Family history, neck circumference, and nasal congestion can also cause sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sleep apnea can lead to serious health conditions, so seeking treatment right away is recommended. Traditionally, patients were prescribed CPAP but many people found the bulkiness of these machines to be inconvenient and invasive.
Thanks to advanced technology, dentists can now create custom oral appliances for most of their patients. These are mouthpieces that are made to fit inside your jaw and eliminate symptoms of sleep apnea.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a sleep study. A sleep study is conducted by physicians at a professional clinic where you’ll be monitored to determine if you have a sleep disorder. You may even be able to undergo a take-home test instead of going to a clinic.
With the take-home test, you can sleep in the comfort of your own home. You’ll receive the sleep test equipment from your physician and return it to them after you’ve conducted the test. Once your physician diagnoses you with sleep apnea, Dr. Huff can help you find a treatment option that suits you.
Sleep apnea causes your airway to be obstructed while you sleep. This can lead to oxygen deprivation and serious health conditions. The most common health complications from sleep apnea include heart attacks, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
The sleep disorder also affects your body’s ability to get a proper night’s sleep. This means you’ll likely feel fatigued daily, which makes it more difficult to concentrate on activities such as driving, learning, and performing complex tasks at work.
While physical health conditions may be life-threatening, the mental health effects of sleep apnea aren’t less important. Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
Most people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all snorers have sleep apnea. Loud and frequent snoring is one of the most common and noticeable signs of sleep apnea. If you snore, we highly recommend you undergo a sleep study to make sure you don’t have sleep apnea.
While your snoring may not be sleep apnea, it can still cause harm in your life. Snoring is a common cause of relationship difficulties because it can be difficult for your partner to sleep in bed with you. Sleep apnea mouthpieces are also a convenient way to treat snoring so you and your partner can sleep together peacefully.
Sleep apnea usually doesn’t go away, even with treatment. There are cases in which sleep apnea can be significantly improved with treatment and lifestyle changes, such as in cases where weight is the prime cause. But most cases of sleep apnea require treatment to improve.
This sleep condition is dangerous and life-threatening, so immediate treatment is recommended. Not only can it help you avoid serious health complications, you’ll feel more energetic and refreshed.