Sleep Apnea Q & A
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects up to an estimated 18 million Americans, causing them to stop breathing periodically during sleep. Breathing pauses can deprive the body and brain of oxygen.
Sleep apnea is categorized into one of two types:
Obstructive sleep apnea
The most common type of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the airway. For some people, the back of the throat relaxes during sleep, blocking the airway. This sometimes causes loud snoring.
Central sleep apnea
With this kind of sleep apnea, the area of the brain responsible for respiratory control fails to instruct the body to breathe.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea symptoms vary for each person, and many don’t know they’re exhibiting symptoms until a family member points them out. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring, sometimes accompanied by long silences
- Drowsiness during the day
- Waking with a dry mouth and sore throat
- Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
- Headaches upon waking
- Restless sleep or insomnia
Many of these symptoms overlap with other disorders, so diagnostic testing is needed to identify sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
The test for sleep apnea is called a polysomnogram, otherwise known as a sleep study. A doctor at a sleep center hooks you up to electrodes that record various functions in the body while you sleep. You sleep in a private room while a technician monitors the brain and muscle activity reported by the electrodes.
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
Dr. Berry offers custom-made snore guards that may help keep your airways open while you sleep. The thin, unintrusive mouthguards hold your jaw open while you sleep, and may even eliminate snoring. This oral appliance can be helpful for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Dr. Berry has a lot of experience treating patients with sleep apnea, so he provides a wellspring of information and strategies to help you take control. He can also make referrals to local sleep specialists if your sleep apnea is severe or you need further treatment. Make a call or visit Landmark Dental Arts online to create your sleep apnea treatment plan.