Sleep apnea is a relatively common sleep disorder that affects as much as 20% of the adult population. Those affected by sleep apnea experience apneas, lapses in breathing where the breath can stop for 10 or more seconds. These apneas can occur anywhere from five to 100 times within just one hour of sleep.
So, if you have a hard time staying asleep at night, wake up gasping for air, feel sluggish during the day, or wake up with a dry mouth and a headache, you may be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and happens when the muscles in the back of your throat (the ones that support your soft palate) relax. The relaxation causes your airway to narrow or close, which then restricts the airflow.
That’s what causes snoring or snorting, or in more severe cases, choking and waking up struggling to catch your breath. When left untreated, your body cannot get the rest it needs through periods of deep sleep, and you may find yourself struggling with headaches, lack of concentration, drowsiness, and more.
If this sounds familiar, call the doctors at MediDental Care. We can help you identify whether you have sleep apnea and recommend the proper treatment to keep you safe and well rested.
There can be a number of causes or risk factors for sleep apnea, including excess weight, a larger neck circumference, older age, smoking, alcohol consumption, or family history. If you fall into any of these risk categories and are experiencing any of the following five symptoms, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
When airflow is restricted, your body can’t get enough oxygen into your bloodstream. For those with sleep apnea, this lack of oxygen in the blood combined with the resulting buildup of carbon dioxide, leads to headaches. These headaches can be experienced upon waking and continue to afflict you throughout the day.
2. Difficulty concentrating
If headaches are not enough to hinder productivity, the lack of deep sleep your body needs to recover from the previous day can lead to difficulties concentrating. You may find yourself feeling forgetful, struggling with motor or verbal skills, having a hard time paying attention, or just feeling sluggish.
3. Excessive daytime sleepiness
Over time, without proper treatment, this sluggishness may turn into something more. Excessive daytime sleepiness is common for those with sleep apnea, with some cases so severe that the person falls asleep at work or even in the car, leading to potentially dangerous or life-threatening situations. If you are struggling to stay awake during the day, seek medical care immediately.
Snoring while you sleep can be normal and harmless without indicating that you suffer from sleep apnea. However, if you are experiencing any other signs and symptoms or fall into a risk category, then snoring may signal that there is something more that needs medical attention.
5. Gasping for Air
Waking up feeling breathless or gasping for air is nothing to take lightly. If you wake up in the middle of the night finding it difficult to breathe, this is an indicator that you may have sleep apnea. Sleep studies performed and monitored by a medical professional can assess your sleep patterns and disturbances to determine whether you have sleep apnea and need treatment.
Get the Help You Need for Sleep Apnea
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a medical professional, there are a number of treatment options available, including include surgical correction or oral appliances.
For a minimally invasive solution, doctors Anam Khalid, DDS, Andrew Sarowitz, DDS, and Andrew Moashman, DDS, at MediDental Care in Astoria, New York offer the latter. These oral appliances are custom-designed and made to fit comfortably in your mouth so you can wear them during sleep. Your oral appliance will adjust your jaw placement to keep the airway open while you are sleeping so you can enjoy a peaceful night’s rest again.
If you think you have sleep apnea and need guidance, or if you have been diagnosed and need a solution, we are here for you. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation and get the help you need.