August 14, 2017
Do you commonly wake up with a very dry or sore throat? Are you exhausted all the time? Do you suffer from morning headaches, insomnia, or abrupt mood changes? If you answered yes to these questions, it is possible that you have sleep apnea in The Woodlands. This is a serious disorder that can increase your stress levels, put a damper on your everyday life, and possibly even lead to death. Fortunately, addressing the problem might be as simple as visiting your local dentist.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
There are a few different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the one that afflicts the most people. It occurs when something, such as your tongue, blocks your upper airway while you’re in dreamland. This causes your chest muscles and diaphragm to struggle to get air into your lungs. You stop breathing temporarily but resume taking in air with a loud gasp or snort.
Many people who have this condition are unaware that they have it. You are even less likely to know what is happening if you don’t sleep next to a partner. You might be aware of sleep apnea symptoms during your waking hours, but you need to receive an official diagnosis before you can get treatment.
Certain groups are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea than others. Risk factors include:
- Excess weight
- Gender (men are more likely to get sleep apnea)
- Advanced age
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
If you’re having problems that might be apnea-related, head to your primary care physician. He or she might recommend that you spend the night at a sleep lab so machines can monitor you while you’re getting some shuteye. This analysis will reveal if you have any problems that require treatment.
Another diagnostic method involves a machine that you take home with you. Your dentist or physician may lend it to you for a night, and the machine will send data about how you sleep to your doctor. Many people prefer this procedure over going to a sleep lab, but your local medical expert will help you determine which route is right for you.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Your dentist in The Woodlands may be able to improve the quality of your sleep and your overall health. They can provide you with a snore guard that will gently reposition your tongue or jaw while you sleep. Therefore, obstructions are less likely to occur and you’ll be able to sleep like a baby — maybe even better.
Depending on the exact cause of your sleep apnea and how serious it is, your dentist or doctor might suggest other treatment options.
Sleep apnea is nothing to scoff at. If you suspect you have this condition, head to your local dentist or physician ASAP so you can start sleeping soundly again.
About the Author
Dr. Virgilio Gutierrez is an experienced oral healthcare provider at Bear Branch Dental who is passionate about dentistry, and he can provide treatment for sleep apnea. If you have questions about how you can get a better night’s rest, please contact Bear Branch Dental via our website or by phone at 281-419-2327.
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