Everybody snores from time to time, and it can be annoying for sleeping partners, but persistent snoring could be a sign of a more serious problem called sleep apnea.
What Is the Difference between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Ordinary snoring is consistent, but sleep apnea is characterized by frequent pauses in breathing that can last several seconds. Often sufferers will restart breathing with a loud gasp or snort but will not wholly awaken. These pauses in breathing can occur multiple times a night and not surprisingly one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is fatigue. Sleep apnea prevents high quality and restful sleep so that during the daytime you may notice you feel excessively sleepy even though it feels as if you’ve slept for hours.
The most common form of sleep apnea in Newcastle is called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It is caused by the airway narrowing or becoming wholly or partially blocked during sleep which can occur as your muscles relax. This allows your airway to collapse inwards and your tongue to fall backward so that you cease breathing until your body prompts you to restart. There is another less common form of sleep apnea called central sleep apnoea which is caused by the brain failing to signal the muscles to breathe.
Who Can Have Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children but some people are more at risk. Known risk factors include being overweight, being over the age of 40 and being male. You are more likely to develop this condition if you have a family history of sleep apnea or if you have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Some people develop sleep apnoea due to allergies or sinus problems. It is essential to get a diagnosis of sleep apnea in Clarington because it can affect your general health.
How Does It Affect Health?
Everybody needs good quality sleep, and if you feel continually fatigued, you may suffer from high blood pressure and frequent headaches. Your risk of stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, and depression is higher. Schoolchildren may struggle to concentrate at school while adults may be unsafe to drive or to operate machinery. If you have been waking up feeling excessively sleepy or if your sleeping partner has noticed pauses in breathing, get in touch with our dentist here at West Bowmanville Family Dental.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
One of the most effective ways to diagnose sleep apnea is for you to attend a sleep clinic in Courtice so the quality of your sleep can be properly assessed. This will confirm if you have sleep apnea and the degree of its severity, or if you just happen to snore! If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, then we can discuss suitable treatments.
Mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea can usually be treated with a dental splint, custom-made for your mouth and which you simply wear during sleep. Your dental splint is designed to hold your lower jaw slightly forwards, preventing your tongue from falling backward and blocking your airway while helping to hold open your airway during sleep.
Severe sleep apnea needs to be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine and where you will need to wear a mask during sleep which pumps pressurized air into your airway, ensuring it remains open during sleep. This machine is very efficient, but some people find it quite difficult to tolerate. If this applies to you and you are neglecting to use your CPAP machine then it could be worth trying a dental splint because, for the sake of your health, it is essential to get treatment for sleep apnea.