Do you snore? If so, you’re not alone. What you may not know is that snoring can be a sign of a more serious problem: sleep apnea. If you know that you snore, especially if you snore loudly, keep an eye out for the signs in case you might suffer from sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which one repeatedly stops breathing while asleep. About half of all loud snorers have sleep apnea, although plenty don’t know it. Don’t worry – the breaks in breathing are short, but oxygen deprivation, even for short periods, has other risks. The decreased oxygen can increase fatigue and hinder concentration, increase your blood pressure and risk of heart problems, and even heighten your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. Difficulty breathing is caused by an obstruction in the throat. The obstruction is typically caused by the tissues of your throat when the muscles relax.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs naturally in people of all ages, but some factors can increase your risk:
- Excess weight – obesity can put pressure on the organs, and the throat is no different
- Narrow throat – a natural narrow throat or large tonsils can obstruct breathing
- Being male – men are several times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea
- Age – your risk increases as you grow older
- Sedatives, such as drugs or alcohol – sedatives increase relaxation, including in the muscles of the throat
Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Dry morning mouth
- Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Oral appliances provide a comfortable, convenient, and discreet way to treat patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. The oral appliance is similar to a sports mouthguard, and holds the jaw, tongue, and oral muscles in a good position for easy breathing. Bethesda Dental Implant Center offers two basic types of oral appliances: a tongue retaining appliance, and a mandibular repositioning appliance. Drs. Eskow will examine you at your consultation to determine what device would be best for you. Then the appliance will be custom made for a comfortable fit.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, contact Bethesda Dental Implant Center and schedule a consultation. Call our Washington DC location at (202) 644-9679, or our Bethesda location at (301) 200-5222, or schedule online, and improve your sleep today.