Questions About Sleep Apnea

Albertville and Gadsden, Alabama

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person temporarily stops breathing while asleep. These episodes tend to slightly awaken the person out of a deep sleep. When a person suffers from a sleep apnea disorder, he or she may experience hundreds of these episodes a night. Sleep apnea sufferers often snore or gasp for air while sleeping. It is common for sleep apnea suffers to be unaware of their disorder until serious health symptoms begin to surface.

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction of the airway, which is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. For instance, if the jaw is misaligned, the airway will be obstructed, preventing air from properly flowing through the airway. When our body does not receive adequate airflow, our organs are not receiving the air they need to function properly and remain in a healthy state. For some patients, the natural anatomy of their throat, tonsils, and adenoids could be to blame for their sleep apnea disorder. Although women and children can develop sleep apnea, it tends to mostly affect men over the age of 50. Being overweight contributes to one’s likelihood of developing sleep apnea.
Another form of sleep apnea disorder is known as central sleep apnea, which is when the brain fails to signal the body that it needs to breathe. Central sleep apnea is associated with the central nervous system and typically affects patients who have suffered a stroke or other damaging effects to their central nervous system.

How serious is sleep apnea?

If left untreated, sleep apnea disorder could result in poor health and loss of interest in your daily activities. Sleep apnea disorders have been linked to more serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart attacks. For some patients, their sleep apnea disorder may interfere with their life, causing them to lose interest in things that once brought them joy.

How can I tell if I have a sleep apnea disorder?

One of the most common symptoms of a sleep apnea disorder is snoring while you sleep. Therefore, your sleep partner may be able to tell if you suffer from sleep apnea simply by hearing you snore. However, do not solely rely on this as a diagnosis of your sleep apnea disorder. Other symptoms are weight gain, daytime fatigue, lowered libido, mood swings, headaches, or migraines. If you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact us at Wall Street Dentistry for a consultation. Sleep apnea disorders should not be ignored as it can lead to more serious health problems.

How are sleep apnea disorders treated?

Sleep apnea disorders are treated differently for each patient, depending on the cause of their disorder. For obstructive sleep apnea, repositioning appliances may be used to align the jaw, eliminating the obstruction of airflow. These repositioning devices are painless, easy to wear and are specially made to fit each patient. For some cases in which the patient’s natural anatomy is causing the obstruction, sometimes surgery may be necessary.

Do not ignore signs that you may have a sleep disorder.

Call us at (256) 878-0525 for a consultation. Our dentists can identify whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea and help develop a treatment plan to end your suffering