Sleep Apnea has been linked to excessive tiredness, depression, and reduced resistance to infection. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart attack, hypertension, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, catching a cold, and even death.
Sleep apnea can have a significant impact on the quality of life, placing unnecessary strain on relationships between bed partners, family, and the workplace. If you have sleep apnea (OSA) or display sleep apnea symptoms such as loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and witnessed apnea, it is essential that you seek the right sleep apnea treatment options. Dr. Wayne Myles offers dental treatment for sleep apnea in Reston, VA.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
During sleep, muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue (or flesh) at the back of your throat can sag, narrowing the airway. Incoming air then makes the tissue at the rear roof of the mouth (the soft palate), the flap of skin hanging from the palate (uvula), and the throat vibrate-a sound known as snoring.
Loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem – Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is where the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing can stop for ten seconds or more. This can occur over a hundred times per hour. The brain detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to breathe. Although sleep apnea sufferers may experience hundreds of apnea events per night, they are unlikely to remember any of them. In fact, if the sufferer lives alone or sleeps separately, they may never be aware of their condition after many years.
Diagnosing & Treating Sleep Apnea
The first step is a thorough exam including medical history and medications being taken, and a questionnaire related to certain symptoms. Then a sleep study is done and the results are interpreted to determine your sleep habits and the seriousness/severity of your apnea condition. Traditionally, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is used. This is inconvenient, uncomfortable, cumbersome, and has poor compliance. Now, a small comfortable oral appliance is made that is easy to use to alleviate the OSA and allow you to live a more alert, healthy lifestyle.
Sleep apnea is a very serious disorder in which you stop breathing when you are asleep. After a sleep study is performed, Dr. Wayne Myles evaluates the position of your jawbone and crafts a clear, comfortable dental appliance for you to wear at night. By repositioning the jaw, Northern Virginia Dentist Wayne Myles can reduce your sleep apnea and improve the way you breathe. If you think you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or display symptoms of OSA such as loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and witnessed apnea, contact our Reston, Virginia dentist for more information.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
If you’re still curious about sleep apnea, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Myles wants all of his patients to have the information they need to stay as healthy as possible. Sleep apnea is often hard to diagnose on your own, so the more you know about it, the better your chances are of being able to recognize this problem. That’s why we’ve included the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea. Keep reading to learn more about this sleeping disorder.
Why Should I Visit the Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Traditionally, a CPAP machine is used for the treatment of sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and it helps you sleep by forcing air through a nasal mask for easier breathing. While somewhat effective, the CPAP machine is bulky, hard to travel with, inconvenient, uncomfortable, and noisy. That’s why many people affected by sleep apnea are switching to treatment with their dentist. Instead of an inconvenient machine, you can simply put in a custom-made oral appliance when you sleep to open your airway for easy breathing. The best part is the oral appliance can fit in your pocket!
How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
It’s estimated that about 80% of sleep apnea cases in the US are undiagnosed. That’s because the symptoms are often hard to notice because they occur during the night. However, your sleeping partner can be more aware of your sleeping activity. If they can know and understand the common warning signs of this problem, then you can get back to a better night of counting sheep. Be on the lookout for loud snoring, gasping during the night, tossing and turning, moodiness, lack of focus, un-productivity, and overall exhaustion.
How Can I Give Myself a Better Chance at a Full Night’s Rest?
Of course, sleep apnea treatment is integral if you want to get your sleep back on track, however, there are some other steps you can take to give yourself the best chance at a full night of rest. Primarily, exercise is a great way of relieving stress and expending energy, helping you feel sleepy at night time. You can also try avoiding caffeinated drinks throughout the day. Instead, try limiting your consumption of coffee or other caffeine to just once in the morning. You could also try drinking tea to help you relax right before bed.
Are Some People at Higher Risk of Sleep Apnea than Others?
While sleep apnea can affect anyone, patients with higher risks of this issue will be affected by factors like:
- Thicker neck circumference
- Being older (above 40)
- Being male
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Family history
- Nasal congestion
While some of these risks can be controlled, others cannot. That’s why it’s important to remember the common warning signs! Contact Dr. Myles right away if you notice that you’re not getting the sleep you deserve.