Sleep apnea is an often-neglected condition that can have significant effects on your health. Apnea is Greek for "without breath." Sleep apnea occurs when your airway collapses during sleep, restricting airflow to your lungs. Here are some of its symptoms:
Loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. The constant and loud sound of snoring can often be an indicator that a patient may have sleep apnea, and this symptom can be treated with an oral appliance or CPAP machine.
When you snore loudly, it means there is a partial blockage in your throat. Air cannot flow freely through your mouth and nose, so air must push past whatever is blocking the airway. As the body tries to force air through a small space, the tissues vibrate, creating the sound of snoring. This is especially common in patients with sleep apnea because the soft tissues in their mouth collapse and block their throat while they sleep. This obstruction causes them to pause breathing while they partially wake up to restart the process.
Snoring can be caused by many things, but it is often a symptom of sleep apnea. If you or someone in your family snores loudly and frequently, you should talk to your dentist about treatment options that may eliminate your snoring. Many patients find relief from snoring with a simple oral device worn while sleeping at night. This device moves the jaw forward slightly to open up the airway to allow oxygen to flow freely during sleep.
When you're suffering from sleep apnea, your sleep is interrupted throughout the night by frequent awakenings caused by breathing problems. Depending on the severity of the condition, you might only wake up a few times each night, or you could awaken hundreds of times each night – even if you don't realize it. Either way, you're not getting the restorative rest you need and deserve.
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring at night. If you're a loud snorer, ask your partner to help you determine if you snore frequently enough to make it disruptive to your sleep quality. If the answer is yes, it's important to talk to your dentist about treatment options for sleep apnea. It's possible that you're suffering from this common disorder without even realizing it – but once you know you have an issue, you can address it and start sleeping more soundly every night.
If you experience headaches on a regular basis, you may be suffering from sleep apnea without even knowing it! When your breathing is interrupted throughout the night, your brain senses a lack of oxygen and increased carbon dioxide levels in the body. These chemical changes cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to increased blood pressure and tension in the muscles of the face and head. The effects of this increase in pressure can cause severe, chronic head and facial pain.
Another possible symptom is difficulty concentrating when at work or in class. Some people with sleep apnea may fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day, such as during a meeting or when they are driving. This can be dangerous because it can put others at risk on the road and in the workplace.
One major side effect of sleep apnea is mood changes, which can make everyday tasks such as driving or working difficult. In addition, patients with untreated sleep apnea often experience depression because of a lack of quality sleep. The most noticeable symptom of mood changes is a sudden change in personality. Patients who are frequently in good moods may suddenly exhibit mood swings that make them grumpy and irritable. Patients may also seem depressed, especially when waking up in the morning.
Get advanced dental treatments from Prescott Family Dentistry, Fort Mill, SC, by the expert team led by Jason Prescott, DMD, FAGD. For more details and appointments, call us at (803) 802-7878, book online, or visit us at 1860 Coltharp Rd., Fort Mill, South Carolina, 29715.
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