Sleep, Dream, Thrive©
Sleep apnea is a common disorder affecting millions of people that impacts their quality of sleep and life. During sleep, the muscles in the throat relax, which narrows the airway and impedes on a sufferer’s ability to breathe. This is known as the most common form– obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
During a sleep apnea event, you may stop breathing for several seconds to several minutes at a time and this can occur multiple times throughout the night. Each time this occurs, your brain will realize you’re not getting oxygen to breathe, so it briefly alerts the body to wake up and gasp for air.
These awakenings prevent you from getting into a deep sleep, which further affects your body’s ability to function properly the next day. However, because these arousals are so quick, you may not remember them the next day and oftentimes don’t know why you’re so tired.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Understanding the symptoms of sleep apnea can help get you the right treatment so you can live a better life. The most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study, including an overnight exam conducted by a sleep specialist. Dr. Henninger can help you get in touch with the right doctor to receive a sleep study, and once diagnosed, he can provide treatment.
The most common symptom and first noticed symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, however, not everyone who snores has the disorder. Other signs you can look for include:
- Headaches, especially in the morning
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Sore throat or dry mouth upon awakening
- Daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Poor work performance
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend that you have a sleep study performed. At West Coast Snore & Sleep Apnea Solutions, we also offer a convenient home sleep test that can give your doctor the information they need to diagnose your sleep apnea.
Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is typically more prevalent in older adults and men, however, there are kids, young adults, and women who suffer from it as well. Without treatment, this sleep disorder can be detrimental to your life as it has many health risks. OSA doesn’t only impact your sleep but it’s also associated with other medical conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sexual dysfunction
Treating Sleep Apnea with Dr. Henninger
The most common treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP mask. The CPAP mask is attached to a machine that pumps pressurized air through your throat to keep your airway open. Many users find the mask uncomfortable, inconvenient, claustrophobic, and too loud to fall or stay asleep. The sound can also keep your partner awake, putting a strain on relationships. CPAP users end up stop using the device and continue to suffer from their sleep apnea, which puts them at a higher risk for additional health problems.
A convenient, small alternative that Dr. Henninger offers at our office is an oral appliance. This dental device helps maintain the opening of your airway during sleep without the hassle of a CPAP machine. Oral appliance therapy is more comfortable and more discreet than traditional CPAP therapy. Similar to a sports mouth guard, this effective, non-restrictive CPAP alternative can decrease your health issues related to obstructive sleep apnea, allowing you to Sleep, Dream, Thrive!
FAQs About Sleep Apnea
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a serious condition that causes a person to stop breathing while asleep. Typically, the sufferer will stop breathing due to an obstruction in their throat for as many as 40 times per hour. The next morning they’ll wake up feeling extremely drowsy due to having low quality sleep.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Snoring is often the first sign of sleep apnea, but it doesn’t always mean you have the condition. If you snore and also experience daytime drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, mood swings, irritability, and memory loss, then you should visit your physician to receive a sleep study.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea is typically treated with a CPAP mask, which is worn over your face and continuously blows air through your nose and throat to clear any obstruction.
Due to its discomfort, sufferers stop using their CPAP mask. An oral appliance is a smaller, more comfortable alternative that’s similar to a mouth guard. It helps move your jaw forward and opens up your airway so you can breathe properly throughout the night.
Surgery can also be a method of treatment for more severe cases.
What are the dangers of untreated sleep apnea?
Disturbed and interrupted sleep can cause a wide variety of problems, from the minor to the very serious. These health conditions associated with sleep apnea include heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes, hypertension, sexual dysfunction, obesity, and sometimes fatality.
Who is typically at risk for sleep apnea?
Generally, older adults and males are at a higher risk for sleep apnea. Also, overweight people will often suffer from sleep apnea, those who smoke and drink excessively, as well as someone with a family history of the condition may be at a greater risk.