Sleep apnea is a dangerous health condition characterized by breathing interruptions while sleeping. Research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that 25 million American adults have sleep apnea. But most people — because they’re sleeping — don’t even realize they’re waking up several times a night just to breathe. It usually takes a housemate or sleeping partner complaining about snoring or hearing pauses in breathing for a sufferer to realize they may have the disorder.
So how can you know if you have sleep apnea? Only healthcare professionals can make a formal diagnosis. And thankfully, they can also work with you on a solution. If someone has told you that you snore or take pauses in breathing at night, our airway dentists who specialize in sleep apnea treatment in Albertville ask that you call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible and read the following information:
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which someone stops breathing during sleep when the soft tissue of the mouth, throat and tongue muscles are relaxed, and soft tissue causes the airway to become blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, and its most common cause is obesity.
While pauses in breathing usually last only 10 to 20 seconds, they can occur several times a night — and up to 100 times in severe cases. Most patients don’t even recall being startled awake each time they stop breathing during the night, but the frequent sleep-cycle disruptions result in light, restless sleep that impairs concentration and productivity during the day. Sleep apnea has numerous negative effects on a person’s health and can even prove to be fatal when disruptions in the sleep cycle lead to a decrease in mental performance when on the job, for example, or behind the wheel of a car.
What are other dangers of sleep apnea?
Many people who snore know it’s annoying to others, but they don’t think it’s an actual health problem. But, unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Snoring is a warning and a tell-tale sign of sleep apnea. It indicates that a person’s airway is blocked, the person is struggling to breathe and the body isn’t receiving adequate oxygen.
No different than water and nutrition, our bodies need air and sleep to thrive and maintain overall health and wellness. Without food and water, a person would eventually die. Likewise, a body greatly suffers if it’s deprived of adequate oxygen and sleep. This poses multiple health risks. In addition to feeling fatigued throughout the day from missing sleep at night, sleep loss can also lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, heart attack, stroke and depression.
People always say they’re tired, but do you ever feel like no one understands just how tired you are? If you struggle with extreme fatigue during the day, you may have sleep apnea. People who struggle to breathe during their sleep and are constantly interrupted by snoring and paused breathing are tired during the day — there are no two ways around it. When airways are blocked, brains must wake up bodies to tell them to breathe. This is what causes disruptions to sleep cycles. Excessive fatigue during the day can lead to possibly disastrous consequences, including falling asleep behind the wheel of a car while driving or causing major accidents at work.
Waking up repeatedly with a headache can feel crippling, and chronic morning headaches are a hallmark sign of sleep apnea. Snoring at night can cause morning headaches because as airways become blocked, proper oxygen flow is restricted to the body and brain. Intense headache pressure clouds thinking and concentration. This can lead to workplace accidents, missed deadlines and other mistakes on the job.
Do you seem to have a harder time than most people controlling your weight? Studies link snoring and problems with weight control. People who are overweight have excess fat tissues blocking their airways, often leading to loud snoring. It’s a vicious cycle because when someone isn’t able to receive uninterrupted sleep, it often interferes with efforts to lose weight.
Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Our brains require oxygen to function. While snoring, a person’s brain and body do not receive the needed oxygen for daily functions. This results in an inability to concentrate, a lack of focus and challenges trying to remember things. Snoring also disrupts the brain from REM sleep — the deepest stage of the sleep cycle — which means the brain cannot properly restore and rejuvenate.
Airway Dentists in Albertville, Alabama
Sleep apnea can have severe and far-reaching impacts on a person’s dental health. But most people don’t even realize they have it. A lot of times a sleeping partner realizes it first when they hear snoring and perhaps a pause in breathing during the night. Our Albertville dentists at Wall Street Dentistry can answer any questions you have about sleep apnea or its treatment. For more information or to schedule a consultation, reach out to us at (256) 400-2783, or contact us online today.