Yes, I snore. Does that mean I have sleep apnea? My wife keeps accusing me of it.
– Paul in Texas
Did you know that 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleeping disorders, like sleep apnea? Snoring can be an indicator that you may have sleep apnea and serious sleep apnea can actually be life threatening. So it’s worth your while to find out if you do. Individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing for a short duration while they are sleeping. Since your body is in such a relaxed state during sleep, the muscles are also relaxed, including your throat and tongue. In this state, the tongue can impinge on your breathing passageway and disturb your breathing. You may have not idea and often times it is a spouse that discovers this.
Here are some common symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Waking suddenly for no reason
- Gasping for breath or a choking feeling
- Waking multiple times
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Dry mouth
A sleep study is required in order to properly diagnose this condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Then once it has been diagnosed, you can seek treatment with a sleep clinic or a dentist can treat you. Treatments are wide-ranging, but going the dentist route would allow you to treat your sleep apnea without surgery with an appliance worn during the night. These oral appliances reposition the jaw into a more favorable position to keep the breathing passage open.
Physicians often prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) machine. Many patients aren’t happy with having to wear the respiratory device that blows compressed air. But it is important to explore your options to find a solution that is right for you.
Again, your wife is right to worry. Sleep apnea that is left untreated leads to increased risk in stroke, heart attack, hypertension, and other serious conditions.
This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.