06 Feb Sleep Apnea: What are the symptoms?
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea because this condition can have serious health consequences, increasing a patient’s risk of issues like stroke, high blood pressure and even sudden death. When you know the signs that could suggest you have sleep apnea, then you can get effective treatment and reduce the associated risks.
Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, especially if it is excessively loud. If a sleeping partner alerts you to loud snoring, it warrants further investigation, especially if that snoring is accompanied by noticeable pauses in breathing.
Patients who have sleep apnea may also notice frequent headaches or sore throats upon waking. Obesity is also associated with sleep apnea, although not a symptom of the condition per se.
When you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should complete a sleep study to confirm that you have obstructive sleep apnea before pursuing treatment. This step will ensure that the treatment you receive will effectively address your symptoms.
Seeing a dentist may not be the first idea that comes to mind to deal with a sleep-related issue, but the positioning of the mouth during sleep can actually contribute to the apneic episodes. A dentist can provide oral appliance therapy (OAT) to resolve sleep apnea symptoms.
The dentist can customize the oral appliance to hold your jaw or tongue forward and reduce the likelihood that the soft tissues at the back of the throat will collapse and obstruct the airway opening while the patient is asleep.
Many sleep apnea patients prefer the OAT approach to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks, which are highly effective but also have a high rate of non-compliance because patients find the masks to be too uncomfortable to wear throughout the night.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, schedule a consultation at our office to learn more about oral appliance therapy and whether it might be the right choice for you.