Have you been snoring loudly almost every night lately? It could mean that you have a disorder called sleep apnea. This condition can stop you from getting quality sleep and affect your daily productivity, and it can have serious consequences for your health in the long run. Below, you can learn more about sleep apnea and why it’s so important to treat it quickly – as well as the solutions that Dr. Eguren can offer if you schedule an appointment at our office.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and restarts while you’re asleep. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which is the result of the airway becoming blocked somehow – usually by the muscles or other tissues located near the back of your mouth or throat. An obstructed airway can interrupt your breathing multiple times during the night. Whenever this happens, the brain forces the body awake so that breathing can restart. While the awakening is usually brief enough that you won’t remember it later, it’s still enough to pull your body out of the sleep cycle. The ultimate result is that you don’t get the sleep you need to function at your best during the day.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring can be very irritating for your bedmate or anyone else sleeping nearby, and a lack of sleep can leave you feeling exhausted during the day. Unfortunately, the consequences of sleep apnea don’t stop there. The longer your body goes without proper rest, the more your mental faculties will suffer, leading to problems with focus, memory, and reaction time; it may also contribute to depression. Not only can this lower your quality of life and your performance at work, but it can also affect your ability to drive safely and increase your risk for accidents.
As you can probably guess, a lack of sleep can also be very detrimental for your overall health. According to multiple studies, there’s a link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks. The longer you suffer from untreated sleep apnea, the more likely you are to experience a dangerous heart problem. In other words, it’s best to have sleep apnea diagnosed and treated promptly as soon as you think you might have it, as otherwise your life could be in danger.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
The most well-known solution for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. This involves using a special machine to push air through the patient’s airway throughout the night. Many people find this treatment to be uncomfortable, which is why we offer an alternative: custom-made oral appliances that shift your jaw into a position that keeps the airway unobstructed during sleep. Oral appliances are smaller and easier to use than CPAP machines, and they’re far more convenient to take with you whenever you go traveling.