Here’s a scary fact: a very common, very dangerous condition that afflicts millions of people may go unnoticed or ignored because the time in which it manifests is when individuals are most vulnerable – during sleep. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder which negatively affects a normal flow of air intake while you sleep. Snoring is often a common byproduct of sleep apnea; however, life-threatening breathing pauses for an extended period of time can also be caused by the condition. Unless a loved one has observed the effects of sleep apnea while you are asleep, you may not even know you have it.
The good news is, sleep apnea is treatable, and Dr. Michael Fulbright offers advanced options here at Fulbright Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry that can open air passages and give you a healthier, more restful night’s sleep. It is very important that you are able to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea so that you or your loved one can seek the proper diagnosis and care. While the major symptoms of sleep apnea typically occur when you are asleep and unaware, there are some potential signs that can be observed while you are awake.
Sleep apnea can cause loud snoring and pauses while breathing of 10 to 20 seconds or more. These breathing pauses can occur hundreds of times during sleep and pose serious risks to your life and health. Not only can sleep apnea increase health risks, it can also deprive you of a good night’s sleep. Some of the symptoms associated with the condition can include:
- Increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes
- Snoring and breathing pauses while snoring
- Breathing cessation while sleeping
- Gasping for air or choking during sleep
- Tiredness and exhaustion, even when you feel like you slept through the night
- Reduction in mental sharpness and acuity
- Sleepiness during the day
- Morning headaches
- Slower reflexes
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Impotence and sexual dysfunction
- Depression and mood swings
- Waking up with a frequent need to urinate
- Sore throat or dry mouth upon waking
There are a number of types of sleep apnea; however, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to an array of serious health risks, including sudden cardiac death. Recognizing the symptoms of sleep apnea, for yourself or for a loved one, is essential to attaining what could be life-saving care. Our practice offers pain-free treatment options for sleep apnea that can make a huge difference for your health and your livelihood.
Keep an eye on Dr. Fulbright’s blog for the next part in our series on sleep apnea. We’ll have more details on the advanced treatments available that can give you a much healthier night’s sleep.
Contact Dr. Fulbright
If you have questions about sleep apnea, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Fulbright about your concerns, please contact us today.