Sleep apnea is a very common, yet very serious, condition that is potentially life-threatening. Around 18 million people, both men and women of all ages, suffer from it. This sleep disorder is when a person involuntarily stops breathing while sleeping. These episodes can occur up 20 – 30 times in an hour, sometimes even more. Some people do not even know they stop breathing because they fail to wake up.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the throat muscles begin to relax sporadically and block the airways. The most common symptom for OSA is snoring (although not everyone that snores has OSA).
While the CPAP device has been the go-to treatment for years, dentists in Cary, NC at Tryon Family Dentistry offer patients with this sleep disorder an alternative. A sleep apnea oral appliance is an ideal device for patients suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The majority of people who suffer from sleep apnea will go undiagnosed due to the lack of awareness. The symptoms of sleep apnea, however, are hard to ignore because they will affect your everyday life. You should seek help from a medical professional if you have the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Lack of energy or extreme sleepiness during the day
- Waking suddenly gasping for air or choking
- Getting up in morning with a dry or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Mood changes: depression or irritably
- Lack of interest in sexual intercourse
- Difficulty concentration or forgetting things easily during the day
- Your partner observes you stop breathing
Some people are more at risk of suffering from sleep apnea compared to others. Men, for example, are twice as likely to experience involuntary breathing pauses. Furthermore, people who are overweight or obese, have a narrow airway, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or who smoke are at an increased risk of such a sleep disorder.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Cary NC
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is very important to seek treatment. Not only is it life threatening, it can lead to many health issues too. Lack of sleep is more dangerous than you think, leaving you more prone to have a car wreck or an accident on the job. It can lead to poor performance in school or at work. Insufficient amounts of sleep have also been linked to weight gain. This sleep disorder can also lead to cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and problems receiving certain medications especially ones that will relax your airway. For the most part, sleep apnea is not a condition that will just go away. Proper treatment is very important for your health and well-being.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. This device is worn at night while you sleep and will gently blow pressurized air into your throat to ensure that your airway stays open. This will prevent the sporadic pauses in your breathing and allow you to breathe the entire time you are sleeping.
A CPAP mask is very bulky and uncomfortable to wear especially while sleeping. A custom oral appliance can be custom made to fit comfortably in your mouth allowing you to sleep much better. Tryon Family Dentistry in Cary, NC will create the custom retainer-like appliance that will reposition the jaw that opens the airway. It will allow you to breathe effortlessly and comfortably all night long. They are easy to get used to and can be used in addition to your CPAP device.
If you or your partner are suffering from sleep apnea symptoms and wish to seek medical treatment, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Leo or Dr. Alex. We can perform a CT scan that allows us to see your airway and determine if you suffer from this sleep disorder. Our Cary, NC dentists are happy work in conjunction with your primary physician to make sure you are receiving the very best treatment.