HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER I HAVE SLEEP APNEA?
Snoring, pauses in breathing and/or sudden gasps for air during sleep, restlessness, or frequent trips to the bathroom are indicative of sleep apnea. Additionally, if you are displaying daytime symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, constant fatigue, or depression in accordance with nighttime symptoms, you may want to consider a consultation Drs. Nugent and West. These signs are frequently related with sleep apnea; however, it is important to note that individuals with sleep apnea patient often experience different symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APNEA?
In cases of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), the brain can stops sending the signals to breath. This creates an interrupted breathing pattern. The stoppage of breathing can happen hundreds of times a night. Central Sleep apnea can cause serious risks to your health and treatment is with a Neurologist.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when soft tissues within the throat and tongue becomes too relaxed and occludes the airway.
This is the most common type of sleep apnea and can prevent oxygen from reaching your brain and organs. The body will tolerate low oxygen levels because of the great need to sleep. Eventually, the brain will signal the body to wake up and the obstruction is cleared. The patient does not know they woke up as they go back into a deep sleep. However, this constant oxygen deprivation and sleep fragmentation creates havoc on your body.
CAN OBESITY LEAD TO AN INCREASED RISK OF SLEEP APNEA?
Obese individuals typically have a larger surface area around the neck, increased visceral fat, enlarged tongue and an increased amount of fat in the throat. These features combined can apply too much pressure on the airway and increase the risk that the airway will become blocked during sleep.
TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
While not a substitute for sleep apnea treatment, practicing good “sleep hygiene” behaviors can improve your sleep. Habits such as drinking alcohol or taking sleep medication before bed can overly relax throat muscles and ultimately block air flow.
Tips for a better nights sleep include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding sedative sleep medication
- Not using electronic devices prior to sleep
- Sleeping with the television turned off
WHAT IF I THINK SOMEONE I LOVE HAS SLEEP APNEA?
Many patients who have sleep apnea don’t realize it until the condition is brought to their attention by a partner or loved ones. Medical doctors only have a couple of minutes to talk to patients. Most medical doctors are only managing problems and symptoms. They usually don’t have to time to explore sleep apnea. If you suspect you or a family member may have sleep apnea due to periodic interruptions in their breathing during sleep, Drs. West and Nugent will be happy to speak with you about how dentist can help with sleep apnea.