Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can affect your oral health, and your overall well being. A chronic and progressive sleep disorder, sleep apnea can cause serious complications and should be treated as soon as possible. Obstructive sleep apnea goes largely underdiagnosed and is a growing health concern in the United States.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the obstruction of the airway during sleep. Soft tissues collapse in the back of the mouth blocking the normal oxygen flow to the rest of the body.
Patients with sleep apnea can wake suddenly up to 500 times a night, gasping for air. Sleep is repeatedly interrupted and the body cut off from its oxygen source. Patients may feel chronically fatigued, experience headaches, or feel like it is hard to focus. Long term, patient’s risk factors increase for developing heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
It may difficult for patients to notice that they are experiencing obstructive sleep apnea at first as it occurs during sleep. Many patients have no memory of waking during the night. While all patients, of all ages, are at risk of developing sleep apnea, certain demographics are at a higher risk. Knowing your risk factors and the symptoms of sleep apnea can help patients seek the treatment early.
If one or more of these risk factors apply to you, let your dentist know that you may be experiencing sleep apnea. A simple sleep study can determine if you have OSA and could help you find the treatment you need to protect your health.
- Male (more prone than women)
- Patients over 40
- Large neck diameter
- Family history of OSA
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you notice changes in the way you feel when you wake up or experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, let Dr. Ahrabi know.
- Chronic fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Chronic headaches
- Waking gasping for air
- Loud snoring