Do you wake up gasping for air in the middle of the night? Do you feel tired all the time no matter how much you rest? Frequent insomnia? Chronic headaches? Irritability? If any of these symptoms sound familiar, they could be due to sleep apnea. This condition can be difficult to diagnose. Because so many of these warning signs occur during sleep, many individuals don’t even know there is a problem. Our sleep medicine specialists at National Dental Douglaston can help patients diagnose and treat sleep apnea so they can enjoy an improved quality of life.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
The root cause of sleep apnea is a lack of oxygen to the brain. However, there are a couple of different reasons why this may occur. Obstructive sleep apnea is triggered when the oral soft tissues collapse over the airway, making it more difficult to breathe. Central sleep apnea is caused by a lack of communication between the breathing muscles and the brain.
Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can trigger more serious and complex health-related concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes, among other things. Therefore, it is essential that patients identify certain risk factors associated with the disorder. Some of these include:
- Being overweight
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Enlarged tonsils
- A larger-than-average tongue
- A small jawbone
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
- A deviated septum
- Severe seasonal allergies
- Chronic sinus issues
While patients of any age or gender can acquire sleep apnea, it tends to be more common in males who are over 40 years old. If you have any of these risk factors, it is important to be keenly aware of any developing issues.
Signs and Symptoms
Some symptoms of sleep apnea are obvious. Others are subtler. However, if you observe any of these warning signs, consider seeking a diagnosis:
- Snoring loudly
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Sore throat in the mornings
- Hoarseness or a dry throat upon waking
- Mood changes
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea shares some common symptoms with other types of sleep disorders. Therefore, if you suspect a problem, it is a good idea to obtain a proper diagnosis. In order to determine if sleep apnea is the cause of your issue, a sleep study is often recommended. During your initial consultation at National Dental Douglaston, our sleep medicine specialist will determine if this kind of testing is right for you.
Oral Appliance Therapy: A Reliable Treatment Option
If your doctor determines that you indeed suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, we will begin discussing treatment options with you. There is a wide array of options available to patients today, including CPAP devices, positional therapy, and even surgical intervention. However, one of the most successful and conservative treatment options is a custom oral appliance. This device, which can be fabricated at our practice, slips over the teeth snugly and holds the lower jaw in a more advantageous position. This can effectively move the soft tissues away from the opening of the airway, resulting in an increase of oxygen intake.>>Learn more about Oral Appliance Therapy
Learn More about Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can wreak havoc on your health and your emotional well-being. To learn more about your treatment options, call National Dental Douglaston at (718) 407-0574 or contact us online anytime.