September 26, 2017
We’ve written about sleep apnea previously in our blog, but we believe it’s an issue worth revisiting from time to time.
When left untreated, sleep apnea increases your risk of heart attacks and heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and car accidents. Yes, your snoring can be annoying, but as you can see, there are bigger reasons for you to get sleep apnea treatment.
We can help with that treatment at Appalachian Dental Care in Boone, NC. If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea, we can create a snore guard that will help you breathe easier at night. And that could help you and your spouse or partner get a full night of sleep for a change.
Living With Sleep Apnea
If you aren’t sure if you might have sleep apnea, read through our example of what it can be like to live with this condition.
You wake up — not because your alarm is going off, not because it’s time to get up. You wake up because your spouse is poking you in the ribs.
“You’re snoring again. Go sleep on the couch so I can get some sleep,” the love of your life says.
You grab a pillow and shuffle to the living room. For the rest of the night, you wake up occasionally. Sometimes you feel like you are gasping for breath, but at least no one is poking you in the ribs.
When you do wake up, you don’t really feel like you got much sleep. You have a headache (again). But you’ve still got to get to work. You take some medicine and go about your morning routine.
When your spouse gets up, you learn that your snoring was still loud enough to be heard in the bedroom. That might explain why your significant other seems so irritated (again) this morning.
On the way to work, you make sure to drink some caffeine to help you get going. That gets you to lunch, but in the afternoon, you find yourself fighting to avoid nodding off at your desk.
You don’t want to admit it, but you sometimes find yourself getting drowsy during your drive home, too. You haven’t had an accident — yet — but you do worry a bit.
That evening after dinner, as you and your spouse are getting ready for bed, you decide to just head to the couch. You don’t need to wake up with bruises on your ribs in the morning.
Every day with sleep apnea may not be as bad as the one we described. However, if you can relate to the annoyed spouse, the complaints about your snoring, and the daytime sleepiness, then you should talk to someone about your symptoms.
How Sleep Apnea Affects You
If you do have sleep apnea, then you stop breathing when you fall asleep. If you have obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of this sleep disorder), this is because your airways become blocked when you fall asleep.
When your airways are partially blocked, it amplifies the volume of your snoring. When your airways become completely blocked, you do stop snoring … but that’s because you’ve stopped breathing as well.
These breathing stoppages can last for several seconds or more than a minute, and they can occur dozens of times every hour. When this happens, your body releases a stress hormone. This could explain the increased risk for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
To get you to breathe again, your body will wake you up briefly. You may not remember this happening, but it prevents you from getting the deep, healthy sleep that you need. This could explain your daytime sleepiness.
How To Treat Your Sleep Apnea
At Appalachian Dental Care, we help patients with sleep apnea by creating custom-fitted snore guards. You wear this while you sleep. There are a couple different types. Some adjust the position of your jaw. Others change the position of your tongue.
In either case, your snore guard can help you breathe easier, snore less, and get the deep sleep that you (and your spouse) both need.