Snoring or waking up gasping for air is often brushed off as an unimportant issue, a fluke, or even something humorous. While some may laugh at snoring, the truth is that it’s a sign of a larger, serious issues known as sleep apnea.
Our San Antonio dental office has been treating this problem for years, and we’ve come to understand that the general public simply doesn’t know much about this invasive and dangerous problem. Today we need to share a few facts about the dangers of sleep apnea and how it can affect your life.
Sleep Apnea Is MORE Than Snoring
One of the biggest signs of sleep apnea is snoring, but sleep apnea is much more than snoring. Sleep apnea occurs whenever a person experiences pausing in breathing while their sleep. It’s much scarier than simple snoring as you can already see. A person with severe sleep apnea will experience more than 30 pauses in breathing every hour. That means it’s possible that you’ll stop breathing hundreds of times in one night. Patients often come to us after being told, usually by their bed partner, that they snore or wake up at night gasping for air.
There are two forms of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs whenever soft tissue blocks the airway during sleep. Central sleep apnea is a little more complicated. That occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the lungs during sleep.
People with sleep apnea also experience problems like:
- Constant fatigue (even after eight hours or more of sleep)
- Persistent headaches
- Mood swings
- Sexual impotence
- Weight gain
Sleep Apnea is Dangerous
During the lapses in breathing associated with sleep apnea, the blood pressure rises and you’ll experience a depletion in oxygen in your blood. Many people with severe sleep apnea experience high blood pressure throughout the day, too, which puts them at a much greater risk of serious problems like heart disease or stroke. Studies also have found that people with sleep apnea face a greater risk of traffic accidents.
Perhaps even more alarming, we know that sleep apnea can be deadly. It’s possible to die due to sleep apnea complications. Reggie White was a Hall of Fame NFL player who died from sleep apnea complications just a few years after he retired. It’s shocking to think that someone so young can die from sleep apnea, but it happenedthis has been well documented.
Sleep Apnea Can Be Treated Without a CPAP
Two things people often know about sleep apnea is that it’s linked to snoring and you can treat it with a CPAP. Unfortunately, people often assume that the CPAP is the ONLY way to treat sleep apnea. The problem is that people often find the CPAP intolerable because it requires the use of a machine, hose, and mask that continually pushes air into the the lungs. While the CPAP is often the best way to treat severe sleep apnea, it’s not the only form of treatment anymore.
Today we can treat many forms of sleep apnea with a comfortable sleep apnea oral appliance. The sleep apnea oral appliance pushes the lower jaw forward to keep the airways open during sleep. The appliance is easy to use and noninvasive. Patients get used to the appliance right away, and it will not bother your bed partner.
Start Sleeping Better
If you have issues sleeping or have been told that you snore, you need to come to our office for a consultation. We have a checklist in our office, and if needed, we’ll set up a special sleep study that will pinpoint your exact problems. Give us a call today at 210-871-9243 or use the online form to book a visit.