Sleep Apnea and You
Sleep Apnea and You – the Body Connection
According to the CDC, 50-70 percent of Americans suffer from sleep-related disorders, making it a particularly wide-spread. Of these disorders, sleep apnea is the most common. During sleep apnea, relaxation of the soft tissue in the rear of the throat blocks airflow, making breathing a struggle. Often, the brain will send signals to the body to wake itself up to restart breathing, causing patients to lose out on sleep.
Sleep apnea can also have some serious short and long-term physiological repercussions. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may become irritable throughout the day, inefficient at your work, or fall asleep. Other short term effects include a disrupted home life, where your partner or bed mate cannot sleep well with loud snoring or restlessness.
The long term effects of this condition can be dangerous to your health. Patients with sleep apnea may develop increased blood pressure, putting them at risk for heart conditions. Tiredness may impair your ability to drive well, and can increase chances of falling asleep at the wheel. Sleep apnea has also been tied to weight gain, stroke, and psychiatric issues like depression. When you don’t sleep, your quality of life decreases and some researches even say it affects the longevity of your life.
Solutions to Sleep Apnea
It’s important to get diagnosed and treated quickly as possible if you experience sleep disordered breathing. If you notice yourself, your partner, or family member exhibiting the following symptoms, then see a specialist immediately.
• Loud snoring while sleeping (not everyone who snores has sleep apnea)
• Abrupt awakening with shortness of breath
• Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
• Episodes where breathing has stopped while sleeping
• Difficulty staying asleep
Although the initial effects of sleep apnea can seem like more of a nuisance than anything, the condition can quickly escalate, causing more serious secondary health complications. Depending on the extent of your condition, your sleep apnea specialist may recommend a CPAP machine to maintain continuous airflow during the night. For patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy, oral appliances may be recommended. Similar in size and shape to a retainer, this device is custom fit to patients’ mouths and gently pushes the jaw into a forward position, preventing soft tissue collapse.
Sleep Apnea Treatment from Timothy J. Delcambre, DDS
At your New Orleans dentist, we can identify and treat your sleep apnea with the TAP® oral appliance treatment system. Please contact us to schedule a consultation and put your sleep problems to rest. We look forward to helping you get a good night’s sleep!