May 5, 2019
It’s not always easy to tell if you have sleep apnea. Many of the symptoms can go undetected for years. Why? It’s because sleep apnea is often associated with loud snoring and discontinued breathing. If you don’t have a partner to tell you that you’ve stopped breathing or that you could wake the dead with your snoring, you might never know you have it! The good news is that there are other ways you can tell if you have sleep apnea. Read on to find out.
Sleep Apnea: The Answer to Why You’re Not Sleeping Well
There are many forms of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when your airway becomes completely blocked due to an excess in tissue. When you stop breathing at night for 10 seconds or more, this is when apnea occurs. Your brain is then triggered to alert your body to its need to wake up. When this happens over and over again throughout the night, your blood pressure will rise, and ultimately, you will wake up. However, this continuous blood pressure rollercoaster can lead to serious consequences such as a heart attack or stroke.
Signs and Symptoms: What You Can Expect to Experience
Oftentimes, sleep apnea is most closely associated with loud, chronic snoring, but that isn’t always the leading symptom. Some people can have sleep apnea and not snore at all. If you live by yourself and don’t have someone to tell you if you snore, you can look for other signs that might be the cause for your restless night’s sleep. These symptoms include:
- Extreme daytime fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Difficulty remembering things or experiencing memory loss
- Multiple trips to the bathroom at night
- Loss of libido
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially multiples, call your doctor right away.
Finding Treatment: Ways to Address Your Sleep Apnea
Once you and your doctor determine that you do, in fact, have sleep apnea, there are various ways of treating it. While some people still pursue CPAP therapy, the bulkiness of the device can be difficult for many people to wear at night. This is where oral appliance therapy can help.
This small, compact method of treatment is worn at night. It pulls your jaw forward, allowing your airway to remain open while you sleep. It is a great alternative to the loud and uncomfortable CPAP machine.
If you think might benefit from oral appliance therapy, talk to your doctor about your options. There are many different types of oral devices available, so make sure you’re choosing one that’s right for you.
About the Author
Dr. Jacob Milner, DDS, interned at Kernan Hospital at the University of Maryland with a focus on pediatric dentistry. However, after obtaining additional experience, he discovered he enjoyed working with patients of all ages. At Dolfield Dental, he and his team of experts can help treat sleep apnea with the help of oral appliance therapy, giving you the rest you need and deserve. For questions about our services, visit our website or call (410) 902-4110.
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