There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep that leaves you rejuvenated in the morning. But unfortunately, those with sleep apnea can wake up feeling groggy and go the whole day battling sleepiness. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. If left untreated, it can contribute to severe health conditions. Luckily there are various treatment options available, and your dentist in Belle Fourche may just be the one to help.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep, oftentimes for 10 seconds or more and usually several times a night. These interruptions in sleep can reduce the amount of oxygen in the body and increase the amount of carbon dioxide. There are two types of sleep apnea, each caused by different things.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This type of sleep apnea is more common and happens when the throat muscles relax too much during sleep, narrowing the airway
- Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea happens when the brain doesn’t send your body the signals it needs to be reminded to breathe.
Recognizing Sleep Apnea
One of the scariest things about sleep apnea is that the person with the condition may not even know it. Oftentimes, a bed partner is the first to recognize the signs of sleep apnea. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive snoring (note: all snorers don’t necessarily have sleep apnea)
- Interruptions in breathing while asleep
- Gasping for air during rest
- Chronic fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
What Happens if Sleep Apnea Isn’t Treated?
Untreated sleep apnea goes far beyond feeling tired throughout the day, although that alone can be dangerous. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart attack
- Certain cancers
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
The best way to treat sleep apnea will vary depending on several factors. The most common treatments are:
- Lifestyle changes
- CPAP machines
- Oral appliances
Getting a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan is the best way to protect yourself from the dangers of sleep apnea and give yourself some quality sleep. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, consider calling your dentist in Belle Fourche to schedule an appointment.