Do you find yourself waking up multiple times in the middle of the night? Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep and waking up tired every morning, even after getting to bed earlier than usual? If this sounds like you, then you should know that you are not the only one with symptoms tied to sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 22 million Americans suffer from this condition.
What’s even more worrisome is that around 80 percent of cases of moderate to severe sleep apnea go undiagnosed. Therefore, it’s essential to know its symptoms so you know when it’s time to seek treatment. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact your medical doctor and Dr. Randall Nameth as soon as possible.
Technically there are three different forms of sleep apnea, but the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea. Also known as OSA, this type is caused by a blockage of the airway, typically when the tongue rests against the soft palate, which pushes the soft palate against the back of the throat. This prevents the patient from breathing for a brief period of time during sleep, usually around 10 seconds.
As a result, air cannot properly flow to the lungs, which in turn raises the body’s heart rate and sends a signal to the brain to jumpstart breathing. This causes patients to start coughing and/or gasping for air, forcing them awake.
The main risk of obstructive sleep apnea is not necessarily the apnea events themselves, but the inability to achieve a very important regenerative stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM. This deep sleep state is responsible for rejuvenating the body, helping you maintain long-term memory, and making you feel refreshed after a full night of sleep.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are not always easy to recognize. Many people just assume they had a difficult night sleeping and aren’t experiencing a debilitating condition. However, if any of the following symptoms become reoccurring, you’ll need to inform your medical doctor and Dr. Nameth right away.
If you’re unsure whether you have sleep apnea, Dr. Nameth will refer you to a doctor who specializes in performing sleep studies. A sleep study is meant to analyze patterns during sleep and confirm whether sleep apnea is present or not. If patterns appear showing the presence of sleep apnea, your dentist can move on to the next stage of treatment.
Many patients utilize a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) to gently force air into the mouth, therefore reducing any present blockage preventing proper airflow. However, it’s common for patients to find the use of the CPAP machine difficult or claustrophobic, causing them to discontinue its use quickly after being prescribed.
Fortunately, there are other options for sleep apnea treatment in Worthington without the use of bulky breathing devices. These include custom-made oral appliances that work to remove the blockage from your throat, helping you breathe normally. By repositioning the jaw forward and increasing the size of the upper airway, an oral appliance can reduce the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, including chronic snoring, choking while sleeping, and daytime sleepiness.
Patients who find the use of CPAP machine difficult or who travel frequently will find many benefits from an oral appliance over CPAP devices. If you’re tired of being exhausted throughout the day and need a better solution for sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Worthington. He’ll work with you and other medical professionals in the area to get your sleep schedule back on track!