What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, but due to its wide range of symptoms, it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This disorder causes patients to experience breathing cessation for ten or more seconds at a time during sleep. While many patients experience apnea and hypopnea (shallow breathing or cessation of breath for less than ten seconds), those diagnosed with sleep apnea can experience 100s of these apnea events each night. The cessation of breath causes the brain to trigger a panic response from the body to restart breathing. These repeated panic responses elevate blood pressure and cause you to waken. The elevated blood pressure and sleep deprivation that occurs when patients suffer from sleep apnea can lead to a number of health concerns. If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, the Weatherford dental Sleep Medicine team would be happy to help. Please call to find out more or schedule a sleep apnea consultation with our team.
Types of Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is the rarer of the two. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe in and out during sleep. Patients suffering from CSA should seek treatment immediately as this form of sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous and can even lead to death without proper care. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is much more common. As is indicated by the name, OSA occurs when the airway is physically blocked during sleep.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
The main reason sleep apnea is so often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed is that the warning signs are so varied. It’s very important that you contact the caring team at Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine or a trusted local sleep clinic to receive an accurate diagnosis if you notice any of the following warning signs of sleep apnea:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Waking gasping, choking, or wheezing
- Waking with sore throat or hoarse voice
- Waking with headaches
- Severe daytime sleepiness even after you receive an adequate amount of sleep
- Falling asleep or napping at unusual times
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Changes in mood or behavior
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
It’s especially important that you reach out to our office or a local sleep specialist if you fit into one of the demographics that are considered at risk. Patients who are at higher risk for sleep apnea include:
- Men are almost twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea
- Those over the age of 50
- Those with a BMI over 35 kg/m2
- Neck circumference greater than 16 inches
If we determine you are likely suffering from sleep apnea, the Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine team offers at-home sleep studies. In the comfort of your own bed, these monitors collect data about the number and duration of sleep apnea events. We’ll evaluate the reports and help you create a personalized treatment plan to improve your sleep.