People who have obstructive sleep apnea don’t always know that they do. Even if they’ve heard of the sleep disorder and how it can potentially interrupt their sleep patterns, they may not consider it something that applies to them. That’s because the specific symptoms and consequences of sleep apnea aren’t always immediately noticeable to those who experience them. Today, we examine a few of these symptoms and what they mean, as well as why you should worry enough about sleep apnea to speak to your dentist about it if you do notice its symptoms.
Understanding obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder, which means it affects both your breathing and sleeping patterns. In the case of sleep apnea, this occurs when oral and/or throat tissues collapse into your airway as you sleep. The obstruction this causes is only partial at first, but it can quickly become complete, forcing you to stop breathing entirely. Because you’re asleep, it can take several moments for your body and brain to register the lack of oxygen. When they do, they’ll wake up just enough to clear the airway so you can start breathing once again.
The symptoms you don’t notice
The problem with sleep apnea is that the episodes of interrupted breathing and sleep will repeat themselves over and over again throughout the night. Once you start breathing again, the obstruction will occur again. Every time it begins, you’ll start snoring increasingly louder as the obstruction in your airway grows, and then stop once your breathing is completely interrupted. However, in addition to the loud snoring, the repeated interruptions to your sleep pattern can also lead to symptoms such as:
- Daytime fatigue and exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Mood swings and increased irritability
- Increased risks of illness due to a weakened immune system
- And more
Dealing with sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, then treating the condition may be simpler than you expect. For many patients, the solution can be found in a custom-designed sleep appliance, which they can wear at night in order to keep their airways clear and open. A sleep apnea appliance is designed to support your lower jaw in a slightly forward position, keeping your airway clear while remaining comfortable enough to sleep with every night.
Learn how to address your sleep apnea
If you start to experience symptoms associated with sleep apnea, then you should speak with your dentist about the possibility of needing sleep apnea treatment. 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.