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Sleep Apnea

Does your bed partner complain about your snoring? Do you wake up feeling tired and fatigued? Are you having trouble remembering or focusing? Do you doze off even in the middle of tasks, such as driving? If you have any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from a potentially life-threatening condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. It is a condition where your airway closes at night, cutting off your air supply. This forces you to wake up to resume breathing, which prevents your body and mind from getting the rest it needs.

If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, or you have been diagnosed and are not wearing a C-Pap machine at night, you need treatment. At Hill Dental Studio, we can help you determine whether you have sleep apnea and get treatment for this serious condition. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is when your air supply gets cut off during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, this occurs when the soft tissues in your airway collapse, closing the airway. You are literally strangling on your own tissues and tongue.
To reopen your airway, often your brain partially wakes up. Even though you are not aware of waking up, you may awaken hundreds of times a night or some as often as once every minute or two. As a result, you are unable to enter or stay in the deeper levels of sleep (REM Sleep) necessary to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea

The physical and psychological effects on the body can be severe. Because deep sleep is crucial to mental health, you may have numerous psychological effects, including:

Memory loss
Anxiety or dementia
Inability to concentrate
Mood swings
Personality changes
Lack of motivation
Depression

The physical effects of sleep apnea can be even more serious, and may include:

High blood pressure
Heart attack
Stroke
Coronary artery disease
Increased risk of death from Cancer
Weight gain
Cardiac arrhythmia

Many of these effects stem from the cardiovascular effects caused when your body senses it has a lower oxygen supply. When deficient in oxygen, your body triggers your heart to work harder to increase the blood supply. This raises your blood pressure and stresses your heart. It is like your heart is working at an exercise level when it should be slow and relaxed. According to some studies, untreated sleep apnea may make you six times more likely to suffer death than from any cause.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

The first step in overcoming sleep apnea is determining whether you actually suffer from the condition. If you have symptoms like snoring, daytime sleepiness, and others mentioned above, you should take a sleep test to determine whether you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed either at a sleep center or with an at-home sleep test. We will discuss both options at your consultation.

Once diagnosed, sleep apnea is highly treatable. Many doctors recommend CPAP as a first-line treatment. CPAP uses a compressor to blow air into your nose and throat. It can be highly effective, but the majority of users find compliance with CPAP difficult due to its noise and discomfort. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, we often recommend that people try oral appliance therapy first. It is very effective and much easier to manage.

Oral appliance therapy means you put in a mouthpiece before going to sleep at night. This mouthpiece holds your jaw in an appropriate position for keeping your airway open. Oral appliances are comfortable, convenient, and effective for many patients.

Medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes are also treatment options that can be used in conjunction with either CPAP or oral appliance therapy, but rarely is surgery used.

To learn more about sleep apnea and how we can help you, please call us now at 469-640-9550 to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr Stephen Hill at Hill Dental Studio.

 

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