Sleep Apnea Is No Laughing Matter
Sleep apnea can be a life threatening matter. It is not only bothersome to the person themselves but everyone who sleeps around them. Sleep apnea is a lot more than annoying. It can be dangerous to your health. It may seem an odd subject for a dental office like Kopp Dental in the Chicago area to bring up. No doubt topics like Teeth Whitening or Dental Crowns come more quickly to mind. In fact, sleep apnea is a related dental professional specialty. Left untreated, sleep apnea can boost risks of hypertension, heart conditions, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Sleep apnea has also been linked to work-related or driving accidents.
So what is sleep apnea? Is all snoring related to it? What sleep apnea symptoms should you be on the lookout for? Let’s take a closer look at this common but all-too-often overlooked risk to health.
What Sleep Apnea Is & What It Is Not
Sleep apnea occurs when someone has pauses while breathing during sleep. These pauses may last just a few seconds or can continue for minutes at a time. As many as thirty, sometimes even more, of these pauses may happen every hour. When beginning to breathe again, the sleeper often snorts loudly or makes choking sounds. This snorting or choking is among the most common of sleep apnea symptoms. If there is no one present other than the sleeper when these occur, this symptom will likely go unnoticed.
Sleep apnea is highly disruptive to healthy, deep sleep even though the sleeper is usually unaware. That’s because when breathing is interrupted or is done too shallowly, the restorative deep cycles of sleep are disturbed. The sleeper moves out of these cycles too quickly and is returned to the upper levels of lighter, far less restorative sleep. This makes for very poor quality of sleep, causing fatigue during the day often to the point of exhaustion. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling tired or unrefreshed even though you have had a full night of sleep. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating or you may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your body is waking up numerous times throughout the night, even though you might not be conscious of each awakening.
Snoring is often associated with sleep apnea. Sometimes, people with sleep apnea don’t even snore. And not all people who snore suffer from sleep apnea. Snoring is just the vibration of soft tissues in the back of the mouth during breathing, which become relaxed during sleep and may cause a partial blockage in air flow. It can also be caused by the tongue relaxing during sleep.
The majority of people who suffer from sleep apnea aren’t even aware they do since it only happens while they are asleep. It is usually a relative or bedmate who first notices someone’s sleep apnea symptoms. That’s why sleep apnea so regularly goes undiagnosed.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the medical term. This occurs when the airway becomes collapsed or almost entirely blocked while the person is sleeping. As the sleeper attempts to breathe, air must squeeze through, causing loud snores. OSA can occur in anyone, adult or child. It has been found to be common in those who are overweight. Even so, it’s important to note that OSA can even affect small children who may have enlarged tonsil tissues.
Kopp Dental Can Help Treat Your Sleep Apnea Symptoms
As mentioned above, a typical doctor’s visit is not enough to diagnose sleep apnea. The specialists at Kopp Dental can set you on the path to a sound diagnosis and treatment. We offer a free sleep apnea screening that can help indicate if you may be a candidate for a sleep study. We are always happy to answer your questions, so call us at (630) 941-8398 or use our Contact Us page if you are suffering from a combination of sleep apnea symptoms which can include:
- Extreme sleepiness during the day
- Episodes of not breathing during sleep
- Snoring or loud breathing
- Depression, irritability or mood swings
- Weight gain
- Memory Issues
There are many people with sleep apnea who have not been diagnosed or received treatment. Because we care: at Kopp Dental we offer a free screening to see if you may be a candidate for a sleep study. If you habitually snore, have excessive fatigue, high blood pressure, please call us today to schedule a time to come in to get a pulse oximeter to take home for your FREE screening. Your life may depend on it.