If you or a loved one has difficulty sleeping night after night, it may be a sign of sleep apnea. This is a condition that, left untreated, can lead to serious health issues. At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we can help.
First, some definitions:
People with sleep apnea experience interrupted breathing while they sleep. This cuts off oxygen to the brain. Sleep apnea comes in several forms:
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common type. It happens when the throat muscles relax during sleep.
- Central sleep apnea. This occurs when the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea. This is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Men are more likely to get sleep apnea than women are, especially men who are middle-aged, overweight, and/or have a thick neck. The chances of getting it increase as you age, too. However, anyone can have it, including children.
If you use alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers, it increases your chances of getting sleep apnea. The reason for this is that these substances relax the throat muscles, which can narrow or shut off the airway during sleep.
Anything that causes nasal congesion, like allergies or a deviated septum, also contribute. The reason is that they make it diffcult to breathe through the nose.
One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is loud snoring. But don’t jump to any conclusions: snoring, by itself, does not mean you have sleep apnea.
Other signs and symptoms:
- Breathing stoppages during sleep, reported by a bed partner or other witness
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (excessive is the important word here)
- Difficulty staying asleep
Abrupt awakening, accompanied by shortness of breath
- Waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat
- Morning headaches
What To Do
If you think you or a loved one has sleep apnea, please call us at Boulder County Smiles in Lalfayette CO. Sleep apnea treatment is one of our specialties. An accurate diagnosis is the key! People from Boulder, Louisville, and Broomfield come to our office for help with sleep apnea, and for our complete general and family dentistry. Call for an appointment today!
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