The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts for up to ten seconds. Causes include the tongue falling back to block the throat and tissues relaxing and collapsing to obstruct the airway; heredity can also be a factor.
Sleep apnea is associated with other severe health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and other whole-body health issues when left untreated. When the disease is diagnosed, it can be treated to reduce the likelihood of other complications developing. Here are four warning signs of sleep apnea to be aware of.
Snoring is the most obvious warning sign that your upper airway might be obstructed. While not all snorers have apnea, the two often go hand-in-hand: as snoring gets louder, the chances of having sleep apnea are greater. If you have a bed partner and they notice that your snores are followed by pauses in your breathing, which continue throughout the night, you could be having apnea episodes.
Other signs of apnea episodes include:
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Another warning sign of sleep apnea is if you get a whole night of sleep but still feel tired all day. Some of the signs that your sleep quality is being diminished by sleep apnea include:
- Nodding off when reading or watching TV
- Needing more naps than usual
- You’re more irritable than usual
- You find yourself catching colds more frequently since poor-quality sleep can interfere with the immune system
- Waking up with a morning headache
- Dry mouth in the morning
People with sleep apnea often show signs of restless nighttime sleep because struggling to breathe disrupts their sleep. If you find yourself doing any of the following, you should speak to your doctor about whether you have sleep apnea:
- Jerking awake
- Waking up under disheveled sheets
- Experiencing insomnia
- Waking up frequently throughout the night
Increased risk factors
In addition to snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and nighttime restlessness, there are many other factors that warn of sleep apnea. Some of the factors that put you at increased risk of developing sleep apnea include:
- Excess weight because fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing
- Medical conditions that are associated with obesity, such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Older age
- Narrowed airway, whether inherited or due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids that block your airway
- High blood pressure
- Chronic nasal congestion, such as due to narrowed airways
- Men are twice or three times as likely as premenopausal women to have obstructive sleep apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea increases in women after menopause
- A family history of sleep apnea
Treat sleep apnea and snoring at Hardin Advanced Dentistry
At Hardin Advanced Dentistry, our dentists treat snoring and sleep apnea with non-surgical therapy that has been proven effective in bringing about healthy, restorative slumber. As members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), they treat snoring and sleep apnea with an oral appliance called a SomnoDent® nightguard. This custom-made acrylic device fits comfortably between your teeth and holds the jaw slightly forward to ensure clear air passageways. The SomnoDent appliance is a highly effective alternative to CPAP for patients who snore and have mild to moderate sleep apnea.
For more information on sleep apnea treatment, please contact our experienced Mason and Cincinnati sleep apnea dentist by calling (513) 398-4448 or connect with us by filling out our online form. We provide sleep apnea treatments throughout the area, including for Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana patients.