Are you drowsy in the course of the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night time? If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, you might be one among more than 12 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea. Your Cocoa Beach dentist, Dr. Keith Vevera, DMD and his staff at Vevera Family Dental can help you with any sleep apnea issues you or someone you know might be experiencing.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition wherein respiration stops periodically throughout the time an individual is sleeping. This can happen as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time breathing stops while sleeping, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts the brain to restore the necessary element. The individual is temporarily woke in order for the body to restart proper respiration. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most individuals with sleep apnea do not notice it, and many feel like they’re getting a great night’s sleep, when actually, they aren’t. The constant wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from reaching the deep sleep part of a healthy sleep cycle, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling throughout the day.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our office.
- Insomnia or sleeping issues
- Loud snoring while sleeping
- Waking up from sleep short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds in the course of sleep (indicating a restart of respiration)
- Headaches upon waking from sleep
- Falling asleep unintentionally in the course of your regular waking hours
- Extreme drowsiness throughout your waking hours
Are there different kinds of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea comes in three different forms. The most typical kind is a sleep apnea that is obstructive or obstructive sleep apnea, and happens as a result of the physical blockage often caused by a collapse of the soft tissue in the throat. Less frequent is central sleep apnea, wherein respiration stops as a result of the muscle groups (involved in respiration) not receive the correct signals from the brain. And some individuals suffer from “mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea, which is a mixture of obstructive and central.
What are risk factors for developing sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is more frequent in males than females, and more frequent in older adults (40+) than younger adults and kids. However, anybody — no matter their gender or age — can suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include being over-weight, smoking, consumption of alcohol, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and a family history. Central sleep apnea develops most frequently in individuals with coronary heart problems, neuro-muscular issues, strokes, or brain tumors.
Is sleep apnea harmful?
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated can result in high blood pressure, increasing the chance of coronary heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue attributable to sleep apnea can result in issues at work and/or at school, as well as the heightened risk of danger when driving or operating heavy equipment. Sleep apnea can even trigger problems with medicine and/or surgical procedures such as, sedation by anesthesia could be risky, as can lying flat in bed after any operation. If you realize or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your primary care physician know before taking any prescribed medicine/s or having any surgical procedure/s.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Treatments for sleep apnea depend upon the severity of each particular case, and the kind of sleep apnea being treated. Basic treatment might be behavioral — where patients are instructed to either reduce their weight, give up smoking, or sleep on their sides as an alternative to sleeping on their backs. Beyond that, oral devices can be utilized to position the mouth in such a manner that stops throat blockage. In more extreme circumstances, a surgical procedure might be the best choice.
What should I do if I suspect that I or someone I know suffers from sleep apnea?
Contact our office in Cocoa Beach at (321) 236-6606, and we will refer you to a sleep apnea specialist. The specialist might suggest a “sleep study” to diagnose the extent of the problem, and may prescribe appropriate therapy. Depending on the patient’s circumstance, therapy might involve an oral device that we are able to custom-create for you.
Dental Information Topics:
- About Gum Disease
- What is Sleep Apnea
- Emergency Dental Care
- About TMJ/TMD
- Preventative Care