Do you often feel exhausted during the day? Does your partner complain about your constant, loud snoring? In the United States alone, over ten million people also have difficulty sleeping as a result of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that leaves patients exhausted and at risk for serious complications. Do you have trouble sleeping? Then talk to your dentist today.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissues in the throat and the back of the mouth become overly relaxed during sleep. When this occurs, these tissues collapse and block airflow. The patient then stops breathing until the brain registers the lack of oxygen and wakes him/her up. While you would assume you would remember these episodes, most people have no recollection of waking up, even if it happens hundreds of times a night.
Do I Need Treatment?
While you may have no memory of the waking episodes there are a number of other symptoms you may notice, including:
- Waking up choking or possibly gasping for air
- Daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Chronic snoring
If one or more of these symptoms sound familiar then please schedule a visit. Otherwise, untreated OSA can lead to a number of complications, including high blood pressure and a greater risk of heart attack and stroke.
How Does the Doctor Treat OSA?
Dr. Brent Engelberg can diagnose and recommend treatment for sleep apnea issues. Typically, a doctor recommends a CPAP machine, which involves wearing a mask connected to a machine. The machine forces air through the nose and mouth, allowing you to breathe easier. However, many people have difficulty with the device. As an alternative, Dr. Brent Engelberg may suggest an oral appliance. The device is similar in appearance to a night guard and helps reposition the jaw, moving it forward to help airways remain open and prevent collapse of soft tissue.