Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can have devastating consequences. The condition is characterized by a partial or complete blockage of the airway that causes numerous lapses in breath. Someone with obstructive sleep apnea can stop breathing hundreds of times in a single night. Unfortunately, those lapses are linked to an increased risk of diseases affecting the body’s most vital organs.
Because obstructive sleep apnea is prevalent and potentially harmful, you should be aware of the warning signs. If you experience any of the following symptoms, Dr. Gordon Bell encourages you to be evaluated by a sleep specialist:
Most people snore at least occasionally, but frequent, loud snoring is a very common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring is the vibrating sound that occurs when air passes by relaxed tissues in the throat. With obstructive sleep apnea, the snoring may be followed by pauses in breathing and then, as the body’s reflexes kick in, gasps or sputters for air.
These are tricky symptoms, because you are probably not aware of what you do while you sleep. Most of the time, significant others, family members or roommates must alert sleep apnea patients to the audible clues.
Unexplained Daytime Sleepiness
Perpetual daytime fatigue indicates your body is not getting the restful sleep it needs — and the frequent stop-start cycle of breathing caused by sleep apnea could be to blame.
It is easy to brush off the occasional fatigue, but if daytime sleepiness is so excessive that it interferes with productivity, contributes to mood swings or affects your cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, focus), you should get checked out by a sleep specialist.
When your airway is blocked, it prevents your brain from receiving all of the oxygen that it needs, triggering morning headaches. Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth can also indicate you are sleeping with your mouth open (which people with sleep apnea tend to do).
Sleep Apnea Treatment with Dr. Bell
Are you experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea and wish to get evaluated by a sleep specialist? Our team can refer you to the right providers. Once you are officially diagnosed, we can go over your treatment options.
For the right candidates, a custom-fitted mouth guard is a quieter, less obstructive alternative to the traditional CPAP machine. A mouth guard will hold your lower jaw in a slightly forward position to keep your airway open. Dr. Bell can design your appliance and adjust it to your specifications, so you can get much-needed relief from the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Contact The Center for Dental Excellence for more details today!