Does your partner constantly complain about your snoring? It could be more than just an annoying habit. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder in which your body does not receive enough oxygen during sleep. If not treated effectively, it can lead to serious health concerns, such as stroke, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Our sleep specialists at National Dental Oakland Gardens can help diagnose and treat your condition so you can enjoy an improved quality of life.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent form of the disorder. This type of sleep apnea is triggered by the blockage or obstruction of the airway. In most cases, the soft tissues near the back of the throat collapse and prevent sufficient airflow from moving through. Less common, central sleep apnea is the result of failed communication between the brain and the breathing muscles.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea can manifest in a number of ways. While some patients may be aware they are waking throughout the night, others may not even realize there is a problem. Therefore, it is important to know what symptoms can occur. Some of these include:
- Headaches, especially in the early morning
- Restless sleep or insomnia
- Dryness or a sore throat upon waking
- Sleepiness while driving
- Waking during the night gasping for air
- Mood changes or irritability
Exploring Risk Factors
Many patients ask if there is something they can do on their own to reduce their symptoms of sleep apnea. In short, the answer is: it depends. Some cases of sleep apnea are exacerbated by obesity. If this is the sole cause of the disorder, there is a good chance that symptoms will diminish with weight loss. In other instances, however, sleep apnea is simply a result of genetics. For example, if you have larger-than-average tonsils or an enlarged tongue, you have a higher risk for developing sleep apnea. Additionally, even though sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages, the condition is more common among males over the age of 40. Other risk factors may include:
- Having relatives with the disorder
- Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
- Having a deviated septum
- Chronic allergies or sinus issues
Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea
There are several treatments used to address sleep apnea. From CPAP devices to positional therapy, it seems most patients require trial and error to determine what works best for them. One of the best ways to establish an effective treatment is to undergo a sleep study, which can be performed by our onsite sleep specialist. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a custom oral appliance may be all you need for a restful night. These devices are designed to slip over the teeth comfortably and reposition the jaw slightly. In many cases, this will move the soft tissues from the back of the throat, keeping the airway clear. Patients prefer this treatment to CPAP machines, which can be cumbersome and bulky.
Contact National Dental Oakland Gardens
To find out if oral appliance therapy can alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms, schedule a consultation at our practice. Call us at (718) 407-0574 or contact us online.