Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder characterized by an intermittent disruption in breathing while a person is asleep. Many people suffering from this condition are not even aware about it. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway gets blocked as the muscles of the throat relax while sleeping. This causes pauses of breath and snoring, and could jolt you out of your sleep several times in the night.
Snoring is a sign of a partially obstructive airway. It is important to note that not all those who snore may be suffering from sleep apnea. Similarly, it is not necessary that snoring will be observed in someone who has sleep apnea.
Listed below are some of the major warning signs that may be indicative of the occurrence of sleep apnea:
- Chronic, loud snoring
- Intermittent pauses in breathing
- Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep
- Daytime fatigue sleepiness and fatigue
- Waking up at night feeling short of breath
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty in concentrating, forgetfulness
- Uncharacteristic irritability, depression, or moodiness
The effects of obstructive sleep apnea can cause an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. Witnessing an episode of sleep apnea could be very frightening. A person appears to be gasping for air and suffocating. They may even wake up suddenly and then go back to sleep.
Oral appliance therapy has been found to be effective in successfully treating mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Common dental appliances used for the treatment of sleep apnea are tongue retaining devices and mandibular repositioning devices. They work by helping to keep the airway open by bringing your tongue or lower jaw forward as you sleep.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact our office for a consultation. Call us at 610-601-5547.