5 Things Everyone Should Know About Sleep Apnea
Short-changing ourselves on sleep seems to be an epidemic for many adults in the United States. We stay up late, get up early, and try to accomplish more in a single day, while all too often sacrificing time for much-needed sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to long-term or frequent health problems, difficulty concentrating, and a weakened immune system.
For some of us, not getting enough sleep is a choice we make every night, but for 25 million adults, unrestful nights are the result of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes obstructive breathing, and therefore, a chronic lack of sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe health conditions, some of which are life-threatening.
The doctors at Tria Dental in Tysons Corner, Virginia, are sleep apnea specialists who want everyone to know these five important facts about sleep apnea.
1. Chronic snoring is one of the biggest indicators of sleep apnea.
If your partner claims you are a chronic snorer, it is probable that you are both affected by this problem. Loud snoring combined with long pauses in breathing, lasting for up a minute, and occurring up to 30 times each hour, are characteristics of obstructive sleep apnea.
The long pauses in breathing are a result of an obstruction in your airway. Sometimes the airway collapses or becomes blocked while you sleep. After the pause, breathing sometimes begins again with a choking sound.
2. Just because you have sleep apnea, doesn’t mean you need a breathing machine.
The breathing machine provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and is a common treatment for sleep apnea sufferers. CPAP machines use a hose and a mask to provide a constant flow of air into your system. CPAP machines may be helpful, but they are often inconvenient and uncomfortable – not to mention noisy!
Tria Dental is happy to offer adults with sleep apnea the option of a custom-fitted mouthpiece as an alternative to the CPAP machine.
The process is rather simple: During an office visit, Tria Dental will make dental impressions of your mouth so it can create a mouthpiece for you to wear while you sleep. The mouthpiece fits perfectly, is comfortable to wear, and keeps your airway open so you can breathe easily and get a good night’s sleep.
3. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious, or life-threatening health complications.
You may not think of a lack of sleep as a serious health condition, but if left untreated, chronic sleeplessness can lead to a host of severe health complications, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Liver disease
- Sudden death
4. Excessive daytime fatigue can be dangerous.
Excessive daytime drowsiness can make you fall asleep at inappropriate times, and, depending on what you’re doing, this can be extremely dangerous. You could be driving home from work and fall asleep at the wheel as a result of untreated sleep apnea.
5. Sleep apnea can affect every system in your body.
Untreated sleep apnea can affect your central nervous system, your immune and respiratory systems, and your cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Sleep deprivation and lack of oxygen in your blood create additional risk factors for obesity and diabetes.
What are you waiting for? When the solution to chronic sleep apnea may be as simple as a custom-made mouthpiece to keep your airway open, there’s nothing stopping you from a better night’s sleep, and ultimately, a healthier you!
Maybe you’ve never thought of your dentist as being able to help you sleep better, but now that you know it’s possible, the sooner you take control of your sleep patterns, the healthier you’ll be. Call or schedule a sleep apnea consultation at TriaDental.com using our online system.
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