Are you drowsy during the day, but don’t really have a reason why? Do you wake up breathless during the night? Have you been told that you snore loudly? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be one of more than 12 million Americans who are affected by sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Canadaigua, NY
What is sleep apnea?
When you suffer from sleep apnea, your breathing stops periodically during sleep. This can be very frequent — as much as 20-30 times per hour. And each time it happens, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain and temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Because the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it. As a result, many believe they are getting a good night’s sleep when, in fact, they are not. The repeated cycle of wake-sleep-wake-sleep prevents people with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, which then leads to a constant drowsy feeling during the day.
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
Here are some of the symptoms that can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
Are there different types of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea falls into one of three categories. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea (CSA), a less common form, occurs when breathing stops because the muscles involved don’t receive the proper signal from the brain. Finally, some people suffer from “mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea, which combines features of both OSA and CSA.
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart failure and stroke. In addition, the ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school, and danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery, including sedation by anesthesia and lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or think you might suffer from sleep apnea, be sure to discuss it with your doctor before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.
What are risk factors for sleep apnea?
OSA is more common in men than women, and more common in adults over age 40 than younger adults and children. However, anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, regardless of age or gender. Other risk factors include smoking, drinking, obesity, use of sedatives or tranquilizers and family history. CSA strikes most often in people with heart disorders, strokes, brain tumors or neuromuscular disorders.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The answer to this question depends on the type and severity of sleep apnea suffered in each unique case. Basic treatment can be behavioral — losing weight, stopping smoking or sleeping on your side instead of your back, for example. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.
What should I do if I suspect that someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?
Contact our practice, and we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist, who will often recommend a sleep study to diagnose the extent of the problem and prescribe appropriate treatment. If your treatment plan includes an oral device to be used at night, we can custom-create one just for you.
As your Canandaigua dentist, our caring dental team
ensures you experience a positive dental visit every time.
As your Canandaigua dentist, our caring dental team ensures you experience a positive dental visit every time.
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