My wife says I must have sleep apnea, because I snore. She’s also worried that I stop breathing sometimes. I’m not sure that’s true, though. I feel fine. And I don’t want to waste time and money dealing with the doctor if it’s not a real problem. Is there a way to test for it at home?
Greg H. – Pennsylvania
There are a number of causes for snoring, and just about everyone does it from time to time. Some causes that you’ll have no control over are the shape of your mouth and your general anatomy. Other causes that you can do something about are being overweight, drinking alcohol, your sleep position, and sleep apnea. Sometimes people snore temporarily because they’re fighting an illness.
If she’s saying you’re also stopping breathing, this is a problem and it needs to be looked at. Although you can certainly visit a sleep center and get a formal diagnosis with an overnight stay, your dentist may also be able to diagnose it and treat it with an appliance made in the office.
Being tired during the day, despite a full night of rest, having a dry mouth when you wake, and morning headaches, can also be symptoms of sleep apnea. Mention it to your dentist next time you’re in, or schedule a consultation if your next checkup is a ways out.
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