Obstructive sleep apnea, also referred to as OSA, can lead to serious complications for your overall health. Lack of proper sleep can mean a greater risk of depression, high blood pressure, and even stroke and heart attack. Fortunately, by understanding the causes and symptoms of the disorder, you can see your dentist and take steps to stop it.
What Causes OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnea develops when the soft tissues in our throat and mouth collapse and block airflow. Soon, patients actually stop breathing until the brain, registering a lack of oxygen, wakes the patient. However, most people don’t recall these episodes of waking and returning to sleep. Factors behind OSA can range from neck circumference, congestion, obesity, and sleeping habits to excessive alcohol consumption.
What Symptoms Should I Be Aware Of?
You should watch out for chronic snoring, episodes of waking up gasping for or choking, dry mouth in the mornings, and frequent daytime drowsiness. Other symptoms can include moodiness and difficulty concentrating on tasks at work or school.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Treat OSA?
We may suggest avowing big meals, vigorous exercise, or alcohol consumption right before bed. We also suggest losing weight (if your doctor confirms that you are overweight) through diet and exercise. You can also have better sleeping habits, sleeping on your side instead of your back, keeping your bedroom dark and free of screens, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
How Do You Treat the Issue?
We often treat the issue with an oral appliance. The device is worn at night and actually moves the jaw forward slightly, just enough to keep the soft tissues from collapsing and cutting off airflow as you rest.
To learn more, schedule a consultation online, or call our office today at (847) 230-9703.