June 21, 2018
Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common sleep apnea symptoms. While that can be dangerous any time, it’s especially so if you’re going to spend long stretches of time driving, as many folks do on family vacations. If you’re hitting the road for a vacation and you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s a good idea to get tested before you go.
If you have signs of sleep apnea, Dr. Steven Airey can fit you for a custom snore guard that will help you sleep better throughout the night – and, more important, make you more alert during the day.
We want you and your family to be safe on vacation! To schedule an appointment with Dr. Airey to discuss sleep apnea symptoms, call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.
Sleep Apnea & Driving Definitely Don’t Mix
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your tongue or other soft tissues relax and block your airway while you sleep. So your breathing gets interrupted, sometimes as many as hundreds of times a night. The oxygen level in your blood drops, and your body reacts by partially or completely awakening. You don’t get the kind of deep sleep your body needs to function properly.
People with untreated sleep apnea often suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day. Some studies of long-distance truck drivers have linked untreated sleep apnea to a higher percentage of traffic accidents.
Why a Snore Guard Will Help
When you visit our Boone, NC dentist office, Dr. Airey will use our 3D imaging machine to get a good look at your airway. This helps him determine if you’ll benefit from sleep apnea treatment.
If it seems apnea is likely and you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, he’ll provide you with a snore guard that will keep your airway open so you can breathe more easily while you sleep. As a sleep apnea sufferer himself, Dr. Airey is familiar with the different types of snore guards available and can advise you on the best one for your situation.
The snore guard typically works by gently shifting your jaw into a position that keeps your airway clear while you sleep. Snore guards are generally highly effective for mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is often recommended for more severe cases.
Snore Guard vs. CPAP: What You Need to Know
In contrast to a snore guard, a CPAP machine delivers a constant flow of pressurized air, usually through a mask, to prevent blockage of your airway. Some folks prefer a snore guard to a CPAP because it’s less invasive. It doesn’t cover any part of their face, and there is no plastic tubing to get tangled. Not everyone finds it comfortable to breathe forced air. Many snore guards even allow you to speak normally and drink water!
Even if you use a CPAP, a snore guard is often easier to use on trips, because it’s so much simpler to transport. It fits into a purse or a pocket. You won’t need to worry about an electrical outlet or batteries with a snore guard; you can use it even in a tent in the middle of “nowhere.” And snore guards won’t get you pulled aside in an airport security line, as CPAP machines sometimes will.
Heed Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you have sleep apnea symptoms, visit our office right away, especially if you know you’ll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Some people come to see us after their bed partner complains about their loud, chronic snoring. In addition to that common symptom, here are some others:
- Frequently waking with a dry or sore throat
- Regular instances of insomnia
- Waking with a headache
- Forgetfulness and difficulty focusing
Untreated Sleep Apnea Presents Health Risks
As if robbing you of rest and making you sleepy while driving isn’t bad enough, research has linked sleep apnea to some pretty serious health problems, including irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure.
The list of conditions linked to sleep apnea includes:
- Alzheimer’s disease
If you suspect you could have sleep apnea, don’t go on another road trip until you come in and see Dr. Airey. Call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673 for an appointment.