Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
While you may have heard of the condition known as sleep apnea, you might not fully understand the extent of what it is, how it impacts people, and the dangers if it is left untreated. We believe it is important for patients to know the causes, dangers, and how doctors like our experienced team, can treat it. In the spirit of spreading awareness, we are sharing information on how to detect early signs of sleep apnea and what to do once you have been diagnosed.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes severe snoring and shortness or absence of breath while sleeping. While this description may sound like a simple annoyance or disruption to you and your family members, it can actually lead to more severe health risks if patients do not seek treatment. Oftentimes, people are unaware that they may have sleep apnea because the noticeable symptoms happen when they are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea) occurs when a section of soft tissue within the throat has become too relaxed while a person is sleeping. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea typically snore very loudly and can begin to choke or gasp for air while asleep. In extreme cases, these lapses of oxygen can last for 10 seconds.
Sleep apnea is not a simple and risk-free sleeping condition. The potential risks of sleep apnea if left untreated include fatigue, insomnia, obesity, acid reflux, and sexual dysfunction. More severe cases of sleep apnea can potentially lead to sudden cardiac death, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It’s important that people who are showing signs of sleep apnea seek treatment right away so these risks can be mitigated or avoided. Other signs that someone may be experiencing sleep apnea can include headaches, anxiety or stress, depression, short-term memory loss, chronic fatigue, mood swings, and grinding teeth while sleeping.
For patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, one of our doctors may recommend the Silent Nite® sl Oral Appliance, which is designed to relieve symptoms of sleep apnea. In Los Algodones, the Isaías Íñiguez, DDS Cosmetic Dental Team is the only dental practice that offers this innovative device. The Silent Nite® sl Oral Appliance utilizes two plastic trays that are extremely flexible and fasten over the patient’s teeth while they sleep, ultimately maintaining an ideal alignment of the jaw. Through this gentle adjustment, patients who previously had problems breathing at night can begin to receive a much more consistent and regular flow of air.
The earlier that sleep apnea is diagnosed and treated, the less of the risk more serious symptoms can develop. If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, please do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment.