Sleep apnea is a condition that causes nighttime breathing pauses that can last up to a minute, if not longer. Those suffering from the condition may not even realize they have it, since signs of sleep apnea are not always obvious. When left untreated sleep apnea can lead to a number of severe health conditions, which is why it is essential that you get diagnosed and begin treatment. Our dentists at North Scottsdale Dental Studio offer treatment in the form of custom snore guards to help manage your sleep apnea. By helping prevent the cause of your frequent breathing pauses, you can work to lower your risk of developing more serious health concerns in the future.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Symptoms of sleep apnea may not be obvious, which is why sleeping partners are often the first to notice the abnormal breathing pattern. Common signs that may indicate you have sleep apnea include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Chronic headaches
- Daytime drowsiness
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea, and it is typically caused by soft tissues relaxing into the back of the throat while you are asleep. This minimizes the airway, if not completely blocking it, preventing an adequate amount of air to be inhaled. As the tissues relax into the throat, this can cause loud snoring and may cause complete pauses in one’s breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is typically worse when sleeping on one’s back, since the jaw can shift and the tongue rests closer to the air passage. Weight gain can also make sleep apnea worse.
What Risks Are Associated with Sleep Apnea?
When sleep apnea goes untreated, the breathing pauses repeatedly occur, which continuously deprives the brain of enough oxygen. As a result you increase your risk of developing a number of conditions. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to a variety of serious health problems, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Gastric reflux
- Heart disease
- Sudden cardiac death
Fortunately, with the right treatment you can keep your airway open at night and protect your long-term health, lowering the risk of these health conditions.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
To determine the best form of treatment for your sleep apnea, you will need to first be diagnosed in a sleep study. If you are confirmed to have obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Todd Mabry and Dr. Colleen Murphy can work with you to find an effective method for managing your condition. Our team designs custom snore guards to not only reduce your snoring, but also ensure your air passages remain open at night for optimal breathing. These oral appliances are a beneficial alternative to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which work by sending pressurized air into the throat through a tubing and mask system. CPAP masks are known for being uncomfortable and inconvenient, which can make many users not want to wear them at night. Since sleep apnea treatment is only effective with continued use of the breathing device, many patients may find more benefit from having a snore guard created for them.