Sleep apnea is a chronic, potentially life-threatening medical disorder that is characterized by interruptions of breathing during sleep. If you have sleep apnea, the muscles in your throat relax and the tongue may fall back and block the airway as you sleep, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs, including your heart and brain. People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. The breathing pauses from sleep apnea cause your body to briefly wake, although you are unaware of your waking. This can happen hundreds of times per night. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. This leaves you not feeling refreshed upon waking because when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. In the morning, you will not be aware of the disturbances in your sleep.
Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member or bed partner might be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause morning headaches, irritability, and depression, as well as decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. Both men and women of any age or body type can have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain.
According to the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. Excessive daytime sleepiness alone costs the economy $150 billion in lost productivity, and workplace accidents cost another $48 billion in medical expenses related to auto accidents involving drowsy driving. Nearly 1 in 5 car accidents causing serious injury are associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
As mentioned, sleep apnea can be life threatening. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, sleep apnea also appears to put individuals at risk for stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, also known as “mini-strokes”), and is associated with coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of accurate diagnosis combined with oral appliance therapy. The doctors Ajlouni are expert dentists who can help you treat your condition and improve the quality of your life. Call our office today to schedule a consultation to find relief from sleep apnea in Southlake TX!
DaVinci Dentistry | Sleep Apnea Southlake TX (817)251-9333