If you or a loved one have problems with loud snoring, daytime sleepiness and/or fatigue, there is a good chance you might have obstructive sleep apnea. Here is a list of questions that might come up if you are trying to better understand snoring and sleep apnea.
Call our office today to meet with one of our skilled and highly-trained dentists to help answer any questions you might have about sleep apnea and snoring.
What Are the 3 Main Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
There are many symptoms that can be accompanied with sleep apnea. Here are 3 main symptoms to look out for if you think you might be experiencing sleep apnea:
- Snoring: Loud, chronic snoring and long pauses in breath.
- Choking or Gasping: Gasping or choking for air during sleep.
- Dry mouth: Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
What Happens If Sleep Apnea Is Left Untreated?
It is important to treat sleep apnea, because it can have long-term consequences for your health. Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe.
Problems that can develop from untreated sleep apnea are:
- Chronic tiredness from sleep deprivation
- Slower reflexes and poor concentration
- High blood pressure and weight gain
- Health issues such as diabetes and heart disease
How Can I Test Myself for Sleep Apnea?
If you think you may have sleep apnea, and want to test at home, there are several home testing options available. These may include devices such as a pulse oximeter or a fitbit-style device which tracks your breathing and heart rate while you sleep. However, these tests should not replace an official diagnosis by a sleep apnea dentist or doctor.
Can Apple Watch Detect Sleep Apnea?
Apple watches cannot officially diagnose you with sleep apnea, but they can tell you if you are exhibiting signs of this sleep disorder. They are able to give you insight into your sleep patterns, but will not help diagnose sleep apnea.
How Do I Get Rid of Sleep Apnea?
Before needing to get treatment from a sleep apnea specialist, you can try to treat sleep apnea symptoms naturally.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity can contribute to apneas that result in airways closing and the narrowing of nasal passages.
- Change Your Sleep Position: Studies show that sleeping on your back can contribute to increased apneas throughout the night. Sleeping on your side can help keep airways open.
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking: These habits aggravate OSA and can make the symptoms worse.
- Elevate your Head: If you sleep with your head raised off the bed at a 60-degree angle, then the episodes of sleep apnea will decrease.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help you increase respiratory resistance and also stimulate blood flow.
If you are looking to treat your sleep apnea symptoms, look no further! Schedule your sleep apnea consultation today at Reflections Dental Spa.
What Are the 3 Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three primary types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax, and your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. This type of sleep apnea can cause snoring.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): This is less common than OSA. It occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. As a result, you may make shallow breaths or pause while you sleep. Heart failure and stroke can occur because of CSA.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and CSA.
Does Sleep Apnea Go Away?
Unfortunately, sleep apnea is not something that will clear up on its own. Even though the symptoms can be treated with oral appliances, CPAP machines, or other forms of sleep apnea therapy, the condition itself is chronic and cannot be cured entirely.
What Is the Best Sleep Position for Sleep Apnea?
Side sleeping is better for reducing sleep apnea than back sleeping. Research has shown that many who sleep on their side were able to significantly reduce breathing disruptions from both obstruction sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Can a Pillow Help with Sleep Apnea?
Some people have been able to decrease sleep apnea symptoms by keeping their head elevated while they sleep. This can be accomplished by using special sleep apnea pillows that help elevate the head while you sleep.
Can Skinny People Have Sleep Apnea?
We often assume that someone with sleep apnea is generally overweight, older, and often male. However, sleep apnea can affect skinny people, women, athletes, and even children. Just because you are young, fit, and thin doesn’t mean you can’t have sleep apnea.
What Triggers Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is mostly influenced by physical factors. Other factors that might trigger your sleep apnea are:
- Substance and Drug Use: Alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers relax the muscles of the throat and slow your breathing.
- Smoking: Smoking causes inflammation and fluid retention in the upper respiratory tract.
- Nasal Congestion: Swelling in the nasal passages can cause the airway to become blocked or narrowed, especially when lying down. This may be due to allergies or illness.
- Back Sleeping: When you sleep on your back it can close your airways more and cause more difficulty breathing.
How Long Can You Live With Sleep Apnea?
People suffering from sleep apnea have reported signs of other health disorders including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. Sleep apnea without treatment does not directly shorten life expectancy. However, it does increase the likelihood that patients will develop life-threatening health conditions that result in shortened life expectancy.
Can Sleep Apnea Be Caused by Stress?
As with most medical conditions linked to sleep apnea, the connection between stress and sleep apnea is mostly indirect, and it varies from person to person. While they can often be found together, one doesn’t necessarily cause the other.
Is Coffee Good for Sleep Apnea?
While a little caffeine might seem like a big help for someone with this condition, it actually could be making it worse. By reducing caffeine intake you will be able to lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and break the cycle of exhaustion.
Visit Our Office to Learn More about Sleep Apnea!
If you still have questions about sleep apnea and snoring, don’t hesitate to schedule a sleep apnea consultation with our dentists! We will be sure to get you on the right track for treatment.