Call Today:(410) 561-8845
Do you routinely catch yourself dozing off in the afternoon? Does your partner constantly complain about your snoring? Are you feeling like you just aren’t sleeping well at night, even though you can’t remember tossing or turning? If so, you may be suffering from a common but underdiagnosed problem known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Characterized by loud and frequent snoring, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the upper airway. This obstruction causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening disease that can increase the risk for serious health problems. These problems include congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and impotence.
If you think you have sleep apnea, you’re not alone. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem that can affect people of any age and body type. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine reports that at least 25 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea.
Although sleep apnea can occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. While the sleep disorder is more common in men, it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway, a recessed chin or misaligned jaw all can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, are you getting a good night’s sleep? If not, try recording yourself sleeping or ask your bed partner to listen while you sleep. Pay attention to the following warning signs.
If you think you may have sleep apnea – don’t worry – you can get help. First, I would recommend a visit to your primary care doctor or an appointment with a sleep physician to help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea or if you simply snore, you can be successfully fitted and treated with an oral appliance. Our team at Lynn Chincheck, DDS is ready to answer your questions about obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy.