If you frequently wake up tired after what you thought was a full night’s sleep, or if you wake your loved ones with your chronic, disruptive snoring, it is time to seek a solution. You are not alone -- in fact, nearly 18 million Americans suffer from similar problems. The cause? A sleep breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea, which is usually accompanied by loud snoring.
Sleep apnea and snoring rob you and others of restful, refreshing sleep -- but there is good news. Dr. Taylor provides treatment for sleep apnea in The Woodlands. Keep reading to learn more about the condition and its treatment.
Sleep apnea is the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. The most common form of the condition, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the lower mandible and tongue partially or completely block airflow during the night. Snoring occurs as a result of the blockage. Desperate for oxygen, the brain sends out an emergency signal to wake the body up.
Sleep apnea sufferers toss and turn and wake up frequently throughout the night -- something they may not remember the next morning. In fact, it is often a partner who first notices the disrupted sleep.
The symptoms of sleep apnea are frequently confused with those of other conditions affecting sleep, like anxiety or depression. For this reason, the condition is frequently un- or misdiagnosed. Learn the symptoms of sleep apnea to receive the help you need sooner rather than later.
Signs you or a loved one are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Loud, disruptive snoring
- Frequent waking throughout the night
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Daytime confusion, irritability, and other symptoms of poor sleep
If you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from the sleep breathing disorder, please do not wait to seek help. Left untreated, sleep apnea has been linked to serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and premature death.
Sleep apnea may be treated using CPAP therapy (continuous positive airway pressure machine) or with a removable oral device. Both keep the airway open during sleep for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
The CPAP is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It works by forcing air into the airway during the night through a small facial mask. Unfortunately, many patients do not find the relief they seek with the noisy apparatus. They are what we call “CPAP intolerant.”
CPAP intolerant patients may find relief with a removable oral appliance. This device is small, portable, and resembles the type of mouthguard an athlete wears. By holding the lower jaw and tongue in place during sleep, it prevents the blockage of the airway and allows you to breathe properly throughout the night.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed by your general doctor and treated by your dentist. If you think you or someone you love may be suffering from the exhausting condition, don’t wait to seek the help you need. Feel free to contact our office for more information on diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.