Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bed

Sleep apnea disrupts the lives of an estimated 20 million Americans. That means 20 million Americans are going to school or work feeling tired and not knowing why. Or they’re not going to school or work, and finding their leisure time is affected by inexplicable depression or fatigue. Sleep experts consider sleep apnea a silent killer of productivity and positivity. And it can create serious health problems down the line.

Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for:
Snoring
While snoring alone is not an indicator of sleep apnea, excessive snoring can be. It’s assumed that of the millions of undiagnosed sleep apnea cases, a strong percentage are people who sleep alone too often to know they snore excessively.

Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
If you’ve noticed you’re feeling more irritable with coworkers lately, you may want to compare that to other sensations of malaise or discontent. Even if you think you’re getting enough rest, any apneic events during sleep cause mental and physical stress.

Obesity and gender
If you’re overweight, you’re a prime candidate for sleep apnea. If you’re overweight and male, you’re even more likely to develop it. Since sleep apnea is considered a topic safe for the dentist’s office, ask your Orange County dentist if your neck circumference seems high. Anything over 17 inches for men or 16 inches for women means you’re at risk for sleep apnea.

Contact our sleep apnea dentist in Orange County today.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bed

Sleep is essential for good health. When we sleep, our brains consolidate information and transfer short-term memories into long-term memories. Our bodies need sleep to synthesize hormones, repair tissues, and grow muscles. When we wake up, we should feel restored, refreshed, and rejuvenated. Unfortunately, about twelve million Americans suffer from a condition called sleep apnea, which interferes with their ability to breathe while unconscious and affects their quality of sleep. Our dentist in San Francisco offers treatments for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. Untreated sleep apnea can cause your breathing to stop dozens or even hundreds of times a night. Each time your breathing stops, your sleep patterns are disrupted. Your brain has to wake your body, and you are prevented from getting the sleep you need. Your body also fails to get the oxygen it needs, which puts extreme strain on your cardiovascular system.

The condition can be easy to miss since the apnea episodes occur while you are asleep, but common daytime symptoms can include:

•    Loud snoring
•    Waking up feeling like you are choking or gasping
•    Daytime sleepiness
•    Morning headaches
•    Waking with a sore or dry throat
•    Falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day
•    Forgetfulness
•    Insomnia
•    Frequently waking to urinate

Do you have one or more of these common sleep apnea symptoms? Treatment can help you get the sleep you need. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco.

When to See a Doctor for Sleep Apnea

Young happy couple in bedWatching out for sleep apnea can involve a buddy system. Since you probably don’t know if you snore, you and your bedmate can alert each other. One in two adults snore, and one in four have sleep apnea.

On its face, sleep apnea does not have to be life-ruining. It affects mostly obese smokers, so there are dietary and other habits you can try to break. Left untended however, sleep apnea can lead to slowed cellular growth due to constant oxygen depletion. You should see a doctor, or call one for your sleeping partner, if your nights are dramatic with wakeups and struggles to breathe.

A few different doctors may get involved in your treatment. While you will probably start with your primary care physician, they may refer you to an otolaryngologist if the problem is due to a malformation like an enlarged soft palate. A sleep specialist may want to put you in a sleep study. And for a less common form of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea—as opposed to the more prevalent form, obstructive sleep apnea—a neurologist may need to take a look at you. Central sleep apnea is a failure largely of neurological sensors that tell the body to breathe or not.

If someone you love has sleep apnea symptoms, call our Los Angeles sleep apnea doctors today.

Process of Getting a Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea

Gum Guard PerspectiveWe do a lot in our sleep that we are unaware of. We move around, sometimes sleep talk, and unfortunately, also snore without knowing it. While the first two examples are fairly normal, snoring is not. It is actually a sign that you have sleep apnea, a condition wherein the muscles in your air passageway relax, disabling you from breathing properly. If someone has told you that you snore every night, you might benefit from a dental appliance.

There are several different types of dental appliances, but all are designed to help you breathe properly while you sleep. You might benefit most from an appliance that repositions your jaw forward, creating more space in the throat, or one that moves both your jaw and tongue out of the way.

The process of getting an oral appliance is relatively simple. Our Los Angeles sleep apnea dentist will first take impressions of your teeth. These will be used to create mouth guard that will fit you perfectly while comfortably forcing a modified bite. Once our dentist has the final product, you can return to our office so we can make sure it fits properly, and make any adjustments, if needed. Patients should keep in mind that they will receive the most from it if it is worn every night.

Contact our office to learn more about a sleep apnea oral appliance that can help you get a good night’s sleep.

Options for Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bedThe first line of defense against sleep apnea is usually CPAP, short for continuous positive airway pressure. This is obtained via a pressurizer that regulates airflow when the patient is hooked up to it with a mask. Mask technology changes rapidly, which means there are always several options to choose from. This is good, since the first mask isn’t always the best fit. Depending on what kind of breather or sleeper you are, you may have difficulty getting a CPAP mask that supplies accurate data.

Sleep apnea sufferers who don’t respond to CPAP treatment may qualify for oral appliance therapy, or OAT. This is just a mouthguard worn while sleeping to hold the jaw forward and keep the airway clear. It must be prescription and custom-fit, as just buying an over-the-counter sports mouthguard may not provide the treatment you need.

Before OAT or even CPAP treatments for sleep apnea, you can try to change up your lifestyle. Obesity is the leading contributor to sleep apnea, due to the high concentration of fat cells in the neck. Watching what you eat and getting regular exercise can take a lot of the pressure off your airway.

Ask our sleep apnea dentist in Northridge about other treatments, such as automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP).