ARE YOU GETTING THE SLEEP you need? Restless nights are unpleasant, but we usually put them behind us and move on with business as usual. But for many people, every night is a struggle for sleep.
Do You Experience These Symptoms?
- Daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Waking throughout the night, sometimes gasping for breath
- Waking up NOT feeling refreshed
- Waking with a sore or dry throat
- Morning headaches
Often, your sleep partner will be the first to notice long pauses in your breathing while you sleep. If you’re seeing these signs, DON’T ignore them.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing throughout the night. The muscles in your throat relax and collapse, obstructing your airway. When this happens your brain is shocked awake to fix the problem. You’re actually choking yourself awake, often hundreds of times throughout the night.
Long-Term Side Effects Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can put a lot of strain on your body. First, your body keeps releasing stress hormones to wake you up and prevent suffocation. And, you’re missing out on your body’s best way of coping with stress—a good night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea increases your risk of:
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
- Heart problems like hypertension and heart attack
What We Can Do
As many as 4% of American men, 2% of all women and 3% of children and as many as 20%-30% of adults older than 60 develop sleep apnea making it as common as diabetes and asthma. Sleep apnea has one major tip-off: loud, harsh snoring interspersed with a long pause when breathing stops for extended periods. This is followed by a violent snort, gasp or moan when the brain signals the need for more oxygen.
There are different modalities for treatment of sleep apnea and even annoying snoring. One is a custom made oral appliance that we can construct for you. The oral appliance is similar to a retainer and functions by positioning your jaw forward to open your airway. Thus it can eliminate or reduce snoring and mange your sleep apnea.
The initial diagnosis and recommendations must be made in conjunction with your PCP. Most likely the PCP will recommend a sleep study in a sleep lab or with a home device. When this protocol is followed, most insurance companies will cover the most of the cost of the appliances.
How Do You Get Started?
Identifying and treating sleep apnea is important to your overall health to avoid potentially devastating complications such as heart attack or stroke.
Even loud snoring will certainly make it difficult for anyone to sleep, and this includes even the most loving and understanding of bed partners.
If you have snoring or think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, don’t ignore it! Contact us for an initial consultation and we’ll help you figure out the next step to having a better night’s sleep.