Sleep apnea is a hot topic of discussion at Perfecting Your Smile – Dr. Pete. And though its causes, symptoms, and solutions can appear complex, our local dentist has the expertise needed to perform a comprehensive sleep apnea diagnosis and successfully treat this nighttime disorder.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea has several causes, ranging from physical conditions like large tonsils and obesity, premature birth, and certain genetic syndromes passed down generationally. But despite its varied causes, the standard sleep apnea definition is straightforward: a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing periodically stops and starts during sleep.

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea – this occurs when the brain sends incorrect signals to the muscles in the mouth and throat that control breathing.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – so named because it happens when the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing a restriction of the air passage.
  • Complex sleep apnea – the term applied when a person has central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms are several, and some of them are common to both central sleep and obstructive sleep apnea, which is all the more reason to visit our Bingham Farms dentist for an evaluation. The most common symptoms are:

During Sleep

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Insomnia (difficulty staying asleep)
  • Temporarily not breathing during sleep (as reported by someone else)

Upon Waking

  • Morning headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)

How Can Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health?

If left untreated, the aforementioned symptoms can manifest into serious health problems. These include:

Type 2 Diabetes

People with sleep apnea are at increased risk of developing insulin resistance, and thus type 2 diabetes.

High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

Sleep apnea can cause drops in blood oxygen levels, which increases blood pressure and thereby strain the cardiovascular system. Over time, this will lead to hypertension.

Liver Problems

Sleep apnea sufferers are more likely to show signs of scarring on their liver, which is evidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Plus, there’s an increased chance of generating abnormal results during liver function tests.

Daytime Fatigue

There are a number of byproducts stemming from daytime fatigue: moodiness, depression, falling asleep at work, and an increased risk of a work- or driving-related accident

What Can You Do To Mitigate Your Sleep Apnea?

Along with visiting our nearby dentist’s office for a careful examination, people dealing with sleep apnea have some lifestyle-related solutions available that can at the very least mitigate the disorder’s symptoms.

Quit smoking – add sleep apnea to the long list of health problems either caused or exacerbated by smoking.

Diet – even dropping a few pounds can have a positive impact on one’s breathing passage. And the closer you get to a “healthy weight”, the more likely it is that your symptoms will decline and maybe even disappear.

Exercise – just 30 minutes of daily exercise can help ease sleep apnea symptoms

Avoid alcohol, especially right before sleeping – alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat, leading to obstructed breathing.

Talk With Us Today About Sleep Apnea

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Peter T. Cracchiolo, jr. DDS will custom-tailor a treatment that addresses your specific symptoms. Whether it’s an integrative therapy utilizing sleep apnea guards, or a surgical procedure to reposition the jaw, we’ll deliver the ideal solution.