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.

Heart Rhythm and Sleep Apnea

Portrait of a happy couple using laptop in kitchen

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that affects 2.7 million Americans. Of those, as many as 49 percent also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Connections between snoring a lot and having a heart flutter may seem tenuous. Of course, sleep apnea is more than snoring a lot, and atrial fibrillation is more than a heart flutter.

Heart disease is the no.1 killer of Americans, and its risk factors—high body mass, history of hypertension, smoking—are also risk factors for OSA. Simply put, sleep apnea is a sleep abnormality that causes the sleeper to wake up multiple times due to interrupted breathing. The stress forced on the immune system by this pattern can lead to other disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, itself closely tied to poor cardiologic health.

When you wake up unable to breathe, or with feelings of anxiety spurred by involuntary reflexes, the heart can speed up to compensate. Co-sufferers from OSA and atrial fib often have their restive heart rate double or even triple. Both OSA and atrial fib are notorious causes of stroke.

Since most physicians do not typically screen for sleep apnea, you should stay alert to its symptoms. If you feel fatigued even after a full night of rest, or if you sleep restlessly or wake multiple times to urinate, you may have OSA.

Contact our Los Angeles sleep apnea specialists for more.

What is Snore Therapy?

Snoring man, frustrated woman

Snoring affects millions of Americans and their sleeping partners every night. When you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax. This causes the airway to become narrower than it is during the daytime, and the tissues can be looser. Every time you breathe, the air rushes past these loose tissues. The resulting vibrations create the sound we call snoring. Snoring has been linked to excess weight, lifestyle habits, and sleeping position. In some cases, it can be a symptom of a disorder called sleep apnea.

While you might not have control over how you breathe when you sleep, you do have options when it comes to managing snoring. Snore therapy can be effective to stop snoring and helping you breathe easier while you sleep. Anti-snoring mouthpieces are a comfortable, easy-to-use option. These mouthpieces work similarly to mouth guards or retainers. The oral appliance is worn at night and repositions the jaw so that the airway is widened for better airflow. Oral appliances are custom-fit for the most comfortable and effective solution for you.

A complete evaluation can help you decide if an anti-snoring mouthpiece is right for you. Call us today to find out more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist.