What is Sleep Apnea?
The overwhelming majority of sleep apnea cases are caused by some type of obstruction in the airway. There are several factors that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is why it goes unnoticed and undiagnosed. Silent pauses in breathing, choking sounds, unrefreshed sleep, and heavy and frequent snoring are all signs of sleep apnea.
In fact, it’s often the patient’s spouse or bed partner who first recognizes the nighttime symptoms of sleep apnea. In order to obtain the treatment you need, it’s important to understand what sleep apnea is and how this debilitating condition affects your life.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Heavy snoring is the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea. Dr. Birth will make sure you receive the appropriate diagnosis, as the signs of sleep apnea are most noticeable during sleep.
People who are often groggy, cranky, and lack the ability to focus or perform daily tasks are more likely to be suffering from this common sleep disorder. Morning headaches, sore throat, dry mouth, and daytime fatigue are further indications that you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
Children suffering from sleep apnea symptoms are more likely to display behaviors associated with ADHD, as well as stay up late and fidget. Dr. Birth’s ten years of experience can help treat children with sleep apnea and prevent further serious consequences by using orthodontics to expand their airways.
Causes and Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Dentists are often the first medical practitioners to notice signs of sleep apnea due to their familiarity with the regions of the body most affected by the disease. Sleep apnea won’t go away on its own and leaving your sleep untreated can lead to devastating consequences. In fact, sleep apnea is linked to a number of serious medical conditions such as:
- Heart Attacks
Unlike many other conditions with a single cause, obstructive sleep apnea can occur due to a wide variety of factors that include:
- Family History
- Enlarged neck, tongue, or tonsils
- Smoking and Drinking alcohol
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Although many risk factors for sleep apnea can be counteracted, it’s important to note that your chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea are greater if you have a family history of this sleep disorder.