Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people, causing them to stop breathing during their sleep. And while many have sought treatment, there are many more with all levels of sleep apnea that have not.
Without a sleep apnea diagnosis, there is no treatment – and this can lead to some potentially serious health issues and a poor quality of life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Simply put, sleep apnea is a medical condition in which the individual stops breathing repeatedly throughout the night while sleeping. This can happen a couple of times per hour or even a hundred times per hour. Each time it awakens the individual (whether they realize it or not), which makes it difficult to reach a deeper, high quality level of sleep.
The result? Even after a full night of sleep, the individual can be exhausted and groggy the next day.
Thankfully, there are different types of treatment available. So once obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed, the best treatment options based on severity can be sought. Unfortunately, if left untreated, sleep apnea can have a negative impact on the brain and body as a whole.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Below is a list of signs that can be indicative of obstructive sleep apnea. Paying attention to these symptoms is important for getting treatment.
Loud snoring. Keep in mind that although most people with sleep apnea may snore, not everyone who snores will have sleep apnea.
- Waking up and feeling tired. After a full night’s sleep you shouldn’t want to nod off while driving to work.
- Irritability or moodiness.
- Waking up with a headache.
- Dry mouth in the morning.
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, etc.
- Gasping for air, choking, or otherwise waking up suddenly in the night.
- Enamel erosion.
- Inflamed gum tissue, or other signs of gum disease.
Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms may vary from person to person and will often depend on the severity of the sleep apnea.
How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed
If obstructive sleep apneas is suspected, there will usually be some discussion about your symptoms, habits, and medical history – including a review of any current medications you are taking. After all, some medications have a tendency to impact sleep. And, since sleep apneas can run in families, a review of family history is also important.
A physical examination will follow. This involves looking for anything that may narrow or obstruct your upper airway, including a misabilinged (pulled back) jaw, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, increased soft palate tissue, or large tongue.
If you believe you may have sleep apneas or have been diagnosed, TMJ Plus Wellness Center has treatment options to meet your needs. They offer more than general dentistry and strive to be a leader in the industry, helping patients live longer by addressing the mouth and total body connection with a holistic approach.