Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can affect both children and adults. It can cause some concerning overall health issues. Recognizing the signs of sleep apnea is one of the most important ways you can help spot a problem and seek treatment sooner rather than later. Let’s take some time to talk about what sleep apnea is, and your dentist in Cary may be able to help.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes someone to stop breathing during sleep, often several times a night. This can result in reduced oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide and leave patients feeling unusually tired throughout the day. Sleep apnea can also be tied to other problems such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heartbeat. Oftentimes, those with sleep apnea don’t even know that they wake up during the night.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
One of the main purposes of sleeping is to relax and help our bodies recover through rest. So it’s only natural that our muscles relax while we sleep. However, if the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, it can block the airway and make breathing difficult. This may be more common in people that have large tonsils or adenoids. But that’s not the only thing that can contribute to sleep apnea. Other factors include:
- Other family members have sleep apnea
- Being overweight
- Down syndrome or cerebral palsy
- A large tongue
Signs of Sleep Apnea
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Gasps or pauses in breathing, or heavy breathing during sleep
Long-Term Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea
Because people with sleep apnea don’t typically get a good night’s rest, they’re more likely to be tired and may have difficulty waking up in the morning. People with sleep apnea may also be at higher risk of:
- Falling asleep during the day
- Having high blood pressure
- Developing type 2 diabetes
- Surgery complications
Sometimes, sleep apnea may be misdiagnosed, so it’s important to get the opinion of your dentist in Cary.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Treatment for sleep apnea is possible, but the best way to treat sleep apnea will depend on your specific situation and needs. Some options include:
- Taking medications or nasal sprays
- Having tonsils removed
- Removing adenoids
- Using a CPAP
- Sleep with an oral appliance
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires a proper diagnosis and treatment to help relieve symptoms. If you suspect that you or your bed partner may have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to call your dentist in Cary to schedule an appointment.