How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health

The snoring

Patients at our office are often surprised to hear that dentists tend to be the first medical practitioners who find signs of sleep apnea. While it is true that only a medical doctor can formally diagnose sleep apnea, our San Francisco dentist frequently spots indications of sleep apnea and then refers patients to medical doctors for sleep apnea tests.

Our dentists and staff want to correct the misconception that sleep apnea is just loud snoring. This disorder has potentially dangerous effects because sleep apnea sufferers have a temporary pause in their breathing, which can bring about oxygen deprivation in some cases.

Sleep Apnea affects more than ten-million people every year, and it has negative impacts on your oral health.

• Bruxism, typically called teeth grinding, often occurs when your brain uses it as a signal to wake up and breath. Teeth grinding impacts your dental health in some negative ways. When grinding and clenching your teeth, you put added strain on the temporomandibular joint. After a time, this could lead to a full-blown TMJ disorder. Additionally, you can injure your teeth by cracking the enamel or wearing down your tooth so much that the root is exposed.

• Dry mouth is an effect of sleep apnea. We know this because patients who see our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco are typically mouth breathers because of the sleep apnea. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it can lead to several oral health problems. Having little or no saliva increases your odds for gum disease, mouth infections, and tooth decay. This happens because saliva continually rinses away bacteria which cause these diseases.

In addition to these dental issues, sleep apnea links to other disorders such as headaches, depression, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Our sleep apnea patients also report excessive sleepiness which can be dangerous when paired with driving or operating machinery.

There are successful treatments for sleep apnea that our office can provide for you. Be sure to talk to one of our dentists if you believe you may have sleep apnea.

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Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

The snoring

Sleep apnea is associated with out-of-control snoring. But that’s just one symptom, and it’s harmless. Multiple other symptoms could be more disruptive of your quality of life. Comparing your symptoms to a list won’t help you feel better, but it could put you on a path to a diagnosis.

 

Sleep apnea is a pattern of interrupted sleep, caused by the collapse of throat muscles. This condition can be either obstructive, when the cause is physical, or central—when the cause is neurological. Either one is bad for the business of your sleep. While it’s up to your sleeping partner to rate your snoring, there are signs you can notice yourself. These include:

 

Waking multiple times per night to urinate
Waking up with a headache, sore throat or dry mouth, or a sore jaw
Recurrent reawakening or insomnia
Persistent feelings of fatigue
Inability to concentrate or increased irritability during the day

 

In an apneic episode, the body ceases to breathe. In severe cases, it happens consistently throughout the night. Obviously, this can impact your health. Along with the pre-existing health patterns that may have led to sleep apnea in the first place—like obesity or alcoholism—you should treat your sleep apnea with urgency. This means getting a diagnosis, which often means getting a sleep study. Sleep physicians like our San Francisco dentist often recommend a sleep study both before and after diagnosis—one to determine a course of treatment, and the other to determine the effectiveness of that treatment.
Available treatments include CPAP—or continuous positive airway pressure—and OAT—or oral appliance therapy. CPAP is a machine that regulates airflow through a mask. OAT is for patients who do not respond to the invasiveness of CPAP, and uses a mouth guard to reposition the jaw for better breathing.

 

To find out if you have sleep apnea, contact our expert in sleep apnea in San Francisco.

How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

The snoring

Sleep apnea is a very tricky condition to diagnose. This is because most of the symptoms can look like signs of other health issues. Furthermore, the most telling symptoms occur at night during sleep. Identifying sleep apnea is vital to get quality night’s sleep, and prevent serious health conditions. Here is what you should look for if you are concerned you have sleep apnea.

Symptoms during sleep:

• Snoring
• Holding the breath
• Gasping for air
• Waking up to go to the bathroom frequently
• Insomnia
• Bruxism, or habitually clenching and grinding of the teeth
• Nightmares
• Breathing through the mouth
• Loud breathing

Symptoms during the day:

• Morning headaches
• Dry mouth
• Moodiness and irritability
• Cravings for sugary and/or fatty foods
• Weight gain
• Obesity
• Depression
• Constant fatigue
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, such as heart conditions, diabetes, and stroke. Furthermore, the lack of quality sleep can cause the patient to fall asleep at inopportune times or in dangerous situations.

Our sleep apnea doctors will work with you to determine the best treatment for you. This may include certain lifestyle changes, an oral appliance, or CPAP machine. In certain cases, surgery might be necessary. Schedule your appointment today.

How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Health

The snoring

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. It affects not just your sleep, but also many other aspects of your life and health. If our dentists determine that you have sleep apnea, treatment is essential for relieving your symptoms and restoring your health.

Consequences of sleep apnea can include:

  • Daytime fatigue as a result of repeated awakenings that prevent healthy restorative sleep
  • Moodiness, depression, irritability, and difficulty concentrating due to sleep deprivation
  • High blood pressure due to repeated and sudden drops in blood oxygen levels
  • An increased risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and stroke as a result of cardiovascular strain
  • An increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

Sleep apnea can also affect partners and loved ones who do not suffer from the condition due to the loud, chronic snoring preventing them from getting the sleep they need, too.

Proper treatment, which may include lifestyle changes, the use of a sleep apnea oral appliance, or the use of a positive airway pressure machine, can improve your health and your quality of sleep. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule an evaluation with our sleep apnea dentist in North Hollywood.

How To Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

The snoring

Sleep Apnea affects an estimated twenty million American adults. As many as four out of five people might not be diagnosed, leaving them at risk for serious health problems, ranging from weight gain and fatigue to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is treatable, but it must first be diagnosed.

Signs that could indicate that you have OSA include:

• Loud, chronic snoring, which might be punctuated with pauses in breathing and choking, or gasping sounds as breathing begins again
• Fatigue, daytime sleepiness or difficulty waking in the morning, which occurs because your brain must partially awaken each time your breathing stops in order to reopen your airway
• Waking with a headache, which occurs due to low oxygen levels, widening of the blood vessels, and vascular headaches
• High blood pressure, which is linked to the strain on the cardiovascular system
• Moodiness, irritability, and depression, which occur as a result of sleep deprivation

If you have symptoms of OSA, you need to contact our office to schedule an evaluation. During this evaluation, we will perform a physical exam, and take your family and medical history. We might also recommend a sleep study, which will measure various vital signs during sleep. The results will provide more information and help us make an accurate diagnosis. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our dentist in Huntington Beach.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The snoring

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common, and involves apneic events in which normal breathing is interrupted. Central sleep apnea involves apneic events during which no breathing is detected, sometimes for as long as 20 seconds.

Our expert in sleep apnea in Van Nuys lists the following as common causes of sleep apnea:

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Risk factors include being male, being middle-aged, being African-American, and having a large neck size. But these do not exactly cause sleep apnea. Directly, the breathing difficulty develops when the muscles controlling the airway relax too much. This relaxation, combined with excess fatty tissue—which is where the overweight part comes in—can produce apneic events.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea

While rarer, central sleep apnea can be greater cause for alarm because of its neuropathological roots. Some data links it to disorders of the brainstem. In central sleep apnea, the asleep subject will stop breathing entirely simply because the brain isn’t telling them to. Sometimes, an underlying medical condition is to blame. The patient may exhibit affinity for Cheyne-Stokes breathing, which is a known associate of heart failure. More episodically, central sleep apnea may occur after a drastic change in altitude, or drug use.

A small group of patients have an apneic case that combines both obstructive and central sleep apneas. This is known as mixed or complex sleep apnea.

Contact our Van Nuys dentist for more information.

How Severe Sleep Apnea Can Affect You

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Many individuals suffer from sleep apnea without even knowing it. They may not sleep in the same room with another person, so there is no way to know that they snore excessively. Furthermore, sleep apnea causes patients to wake up sometimes hundreds of times a night, but only slightly, meaning patients do not usually realize it. So it is normal for sleep apnea sufferers to be completely unaware of the problem.

There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to the muscles in the throat relaxing during sleep, blocking air from entering into the system. Central sleep apnea has the same effect, but is caused by the brain not prompting the breathing process during sleep.

The symptoms of severe sleep apnea, both obstructive and central, are multiple and dangerous. Most are due to the lack of restorative REM sleep. Patients often complain about fatigue, moodiness, increased appetite, and irritability. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen, and cause serious health issues, such as diabetes and depression.

Our expert in sleep apnea in Northridge can diagnose patients with a sleep study. Possible treatments include weight loss, adjusted sleeping positions, and oral devices. If these tactics are unsuccessful, a CPAP machine may be recommended.