Obstructive sleep apnea, commonly known as just sleep apnea, can affect nearly anyone. It can also develop and interrupt your sleep breathing patterns long before you realize you have a sleep disorder. While the condition can lead to a host of symptoms that impact your daily life, such as chronic tiredness, sleep apnea itself can often go undiagnosed for years due to the discreet nature of how it works. Today, we examine what sleep apnea is and how it occurs without you realizing it, as well as the symptoms you may be experiencing without realizing they’re tied to a sleep disorder.
What does sleep apnea mean?
Sleep apnea means the cessation of breathing while you sleep, and there are many different things that can contribute to its development. That can include systemic health factors, such as being overweight, as well as oral health factors, such as the malformation of one or more of your oral tissues or structures. While the causes and risk factors may differ, the sleep disorder itself involves the obstruction of your airway while you sleep, which causes you to snore increasingly louder until your airway is blocked completely. Once this occurs, you won’t be able to breathe for several moments, causing your body and brain to panic. They’ll wake up enough to clear your airway, but in most cases, it won’t be a big enough disruption to wake you fully out of sleep.
Does it occur every night?
The cessation of your breathing during a sleep apnea episode may not be a serious condition if it were isolated, but when you have obstructive sleep apnea, it occurs repeatedly throughout the night, every night. The obstruction occurs as your oral tissues naturally collapse into your airway while you sleep, and your body and brain will repeatedly have to wake up to clear your airway. This repetition is what makes sleep apnea dangerous; because of it, you can never reach the deep levels of sleep that your brain and body need to properly rest and rejuvenate every night. This is also why you may begin experience a number of different symptoms, many of which are related to sleep loss.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
As you’re repeatedly stopped from reaching deep sleep every night, your brain and body will begin to grow exhausted each day without having rested properly. In addition to the loud snoring that often marks sleep apnea, you might also notice symptoms such as:
- Growing more tired faster every day
- Trouble concentrating on some tasks
- Difficulty remembering things, both short and long-term
- Increased irritability, moodiness, and/or depression
- And more
Learn how we can treat your sleep apnea
If you experience these or other signs of sleep apnea, or are already diagnosed with it, then learn how we can help you address it comfortably and get the restful sleep you deserve. To learn more, call our Cleveland Family Dentistry office in Cleveland, TX, today at (281) 592-1234. We also serve the residents of Kingwood, Conroe, Livingston, and all surrounding communities.