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The Ten Most Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

Statistics indicate that about 22 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea, and that number doesn’t include the cases of severe and moderate sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea or if you think you do, then contact your dentist for an appointment. Although sleep apnea sometimes has a physical component, the disease can be diagnosed and treated by your local dentist, so call today to make an appointment.

How Many Types of Sleep Apnea Are There?

There are three types of sleep apnea, and your dentist will be able to diagnose which type you have.

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA: OSA occurs most frequently and is usually caused by a blockage in the airway, which is often due to throat muscles that are too relaxed. OSA makes the chest muscles work harder to force air past the blockage and into your lungs. The pauses in your breathing may last only a few seconds each, but you can have up to 30 pauses in an hour. OSA is more common in men than in women.
  2. Central sleep apnea, or CSA:CSA presents as inadequate oxygenation to the brain. It usually occurs because of trauma to the brain stem or a disease such as Parkinson’s disease.
  3. Complex sleep apnea: Complex sleep apnea is also called mixed sleep apnea, and it’s a combination of the symptoms of both CSA and OSA. Researchers are unsure why mixed sleep apnea occurs but have observed that it often begins due to a physical obstruction. However, complex sleep apnea will continue after the obstruction has been removed.

Am I Likely to Develop Sleep Apnea?

Anyone of any age can develop sleep apnea, but there are factors that will make its onset more likely, such as:

  • Smoking, because it weakens the muscles that surround your airways
  • Nasal congestion, which may be a result of weakened airways
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity or severe overweight
  • Medical conditions such as asthma, adenoids, and small airways
  • Male gender because men are at higher risk than women for developing sleep apnea

Are There Frequent Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

There are ten signs of sleep apnea that can help you determine the need to see your dentist. Those signs include:

  1. Dry mouth or a raspy throat in the morning: Many sleep apnea sufferers sleep with open mouths so that they get an increased amount of oxygen during the night. This causes them to wake up with raspy throats and a dry mouth.
  2. Decreased sex drive: Those who have sleep apnea will often have lower testosterone levels, which can result in a decreased desire for sex.
  3. Exhaustion during the day: Sleep apnea deprives you of the REM sleep that your body needs for its nightly rejuvenation. Although you may not remember waking up throughout the night, your body will be adversely affected by the lack of REM sleep. The result may be mental fuzziness and feeling sleepy throughout the day, even though you thought you got an ample amount of sleep.
  4. Gasping or choking: If you sometimes wake up because you’re gasping or choking, you may have sleep apnea. Gasping or choking is the body’s method of achieving needed oxygen.
  5. High blood pressure: The chemical imbalance caused by sleep apnea can elevate the blood pressure. It can be further exacerbated by lowered oxygen levels in the blood, which is a direct result of breathing interruptions.
  6. Intermittent breathing: If you periodically have pauses of up to ten seconds or more between breaths, you may have sleep apnea.
  7. Lack of mental acuity: If you don’t get enough quality sleep during the night, you can lack mental acuity during the day. This is a very common symptom of sleep apnea.
  8. Moodiness: Research indicates that sleep apnea causes a structural change in the brain. This may be attributed to a chemical imbalance, and it can result in irritability among those who suffer from sleep apnea.
  9. Morning headaches: Morning headaches can be caused by a lack of sleep and low oxygen levels during the night. They’re a classic sign of sleep apnea.
  10. Snoring: Snoring is annoying to everyone and is a very common symptom of sleep apnea. Sometimes, snoring occurs when there’s not enough room in the airway for the body to breathe adequately.

Can Sleep Apnea Go Untreated?

Although some people may choose not to seek treatment for their sleep apnea, this can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Sleep apnea can contribute to an elevated level of carbon dioxide in the blood, which is very dangerous. When it’s not treated, it can also trigger the onset of other diseases or a worsening of existing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or hypertension.

Can My Dentist Successfully Treat My Sleep Apnea?

Your local dentist has been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and can provide you with non-invasive treatment. The first step is to diagnose the problem. Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a sleep study that can be conducted in a clinic or at home. If the study results indicate that you have sleep apnea, then one treatment option is a CPAP machine. A continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP machine, forces air through a face mask to ensure an uninterrupted flow of air while you’re sleeping.

Oral appliance therapy, or OAT therapy, is another treatment method that’s more popular because the machine is smaller. OAT therapy uses a device similar to a mouthguard to ensure that you receive an adequate amount of oxygen while you’re sleeping. Your dentist can recommend the best approach for your needs, so call today to make an appointment.

Who Provides Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

Your local dentist is the best source for sleep apnea treatment. Don’t suffer from the adverse and unpleasant side effects of sleep apnea, call Dental Solutions at to schedule an appointment. You’ll receive a comprehensive exam as well as the care that you need to treat your sleep apnea, so call us today. You’ll be glad you did.

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