Two of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea are snoring and sleepiness. In many cases, someone close to the sufferer, such as a spouse, can provide valuable information since the symptoms occur during sleep.
A person may even think of themselves as good sleepers because they can easily fall asleep. However, sleepiness is a potentially dangerous characteristic of apnea. Motor vehicle and other accidents can happen as a result of drowsiness from the condition.
Properly diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea is important because when it goes untreated, it can result in debilitating health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and coronary artery disease. The inability to sleep is a growing concern in modern society, especially with people who are stressed. Many people respond by taking sleeping pills, which can mask the symptoms of sleep disorders. They often forego medical advice and attribute their sleeping challenges to stress at work or home.
Although sleeping pills might give you temporary relief, the remedy for this disorder can’t be solved with pills. The first steps often involve changing your lifestyle. Smoking, drinking alcohol or any other stimulants that are known to cause sleeping troubles can also make it tougher for you to keep your throat open while sleeping. Sleeping on your side can help keep your throat open.
If you have trouble sleeping and believe it is due to a temporary inability to breathe while asleep, or you’re having a tough time breathing, you should immediately seek a medical professional. If throughout the day you feel excessive sleepiness, have an unusually slow reaction time or experience vision issues, you should also consult with a health professional since these are telltale symptoms of sleep apnea.
Mild cases of apnea can be corrected by losing weight through diet and exercise. For severe cases, surgery is an option. Surgery involves removing a blockage of the airway and allowing your breathing to return to normal. For individuals that suffer from snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances or mouthpieces are growing in popularity because they offer a simpler, more patient friendly solution than surgery or CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines. An oral appliance device, like the TAP® (Thornton Adjustable Positioner), works by repositioning the lower jaw in a forward position, which keeps the airway open and improves breathing while sleeping.
The TAP® mouthpiece comes with a small tool that allows the patient to “fine-tune” the position of their jaw at home. The TAP® has a 96% success rate, can eliminate the need for surgery, masks, sleeping pills and can lead to a restful nights sleep immediately.
If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can increase the chance of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Depending on the severity of your condition, changes in lifestyle and a an oral appliance device have been proven in multiple studies to effectively correct this sleep disorder. Contact Kentuckiana Dental Sleep Group for more information.