Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that affects individuals during the night, causing the sufferer to stop breathing numerous times during sleep. Breathing can stop for as long as several minutes before the brain triggers the body to wake up and resume breathing. Often considered a disorder that plagues the overweight, sleep apnea can affect even the fittest individual and can cause serious health concerns, and sometimes, even death. At our dental office in Lafayette, we always make sure to take the time to educate our patients about the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. We hope you’ll consider getting the treatment you need or talk to someone in your family who is struggling to get a good night’s sleep.
The Signs & Symptoms
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. While snoring has been long labeled as simply a nuisance, it can actually indicate that something is seriously wrong. Snoring typically occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for air to pass through and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs. Individuals who have sleep apnea may snore loudly, and then actually stop breathing for periods of time. The body will then wake the person and breathing resumes. This can happen hundreds of times a night.
People with untreated sleep apnea often report:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day
- Waking up not refreshed at all
- Waking up choking or gasping for breath
- Chronic fatigue
If you or a snorer you know have experienced any of these signs, it’s important to get checked for sleep apnea to stay healthy.
Sleep apnea has been linked to several serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, increased risk for car accidents caused by drowsy driving, diabetes, depression, and several other concerning problems.
At our state-of-the-art dental office in Lafayette, the entire Allure Dental team always strongly encourages anyone who may be experiencing sleep apnea to get checked as soon as possible. Once an official diagnosis is complete, suggestions for your treatment may include a CPAP, a mask that’s worn during the night and forces air into your nose or mouth; a mouthpiece that’s designed to keep your airway open; or a combination of the two. Whatever treatment is right for you, it’s important to follow through on getting treated appropriately. It just might save your life!