Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that impacts a person’s breathing while they sleep. It limits the amount of oxygen a person can take in and can lead to a variety of side effects, some of which are highly dangerous.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the disorder causes a person to pause their breathing for a period ranging from a few seconds to several minutes. A sleep apnea sufferer may experience such pauses 30 times or more in a single hour, decreasing their oxygen intake while they sleep.
While sleep apnea is fairly common, many don’t know that they suffer from the condition. In fact, some signs may only be noticeable by others since the person affected by the disorder is asleep. However, there are a few that those with sleep apnea may experience in their daily lives.
Sign You May Have Sleep Apnea
One of the most common side effects of obstructive sleep apnea, a version of the condition caused by the collapsing of the airway, is loud and frequent snoring. When the airway is restricted, snoring often occurs after any pause in breathing.
Frequent daytime tiredness is another side effect that many with sleep apnea experience. The pauses in their breathing cause their sleep quality to be poor, leading to fatigue and sleepiness the following day.
Some sleep apnea suffers have high blood pressure that is a result of the condition. High blood pressure can increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart disease.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a series of health problems, including:
- Heart failure, heart attack, and irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Worsening ADHD
Treating Sleep Apnea
When it comes to an effective treatment for sleep apnea, the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is typically the preferred course of action. The person suffering from the condition simply wears a mask while sleeping that uses air pressure to make sure that the airway stays open, preventing the collapse associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
However, if the person only has mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, a dental device like the elastic mandibular advancement (EMA) may be sufficient. The EMA holds the lower jaw in better alignment, assisting in keeping the airway open.
If you suspect that you may suffer from sleep apnea, your dentist at Dental Place of Plano can help you determine whether the EMA dental device may work for you or assist you as you explore other options. Sleep apnea is serious and can lead to life-threatening conditions, so schedule an appointment today.