Sleep Apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep, often hundreds of times every night. While millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, the condition often goes undiagnosed, leading to even greater health problems as they get older. If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, you should seek medical attention at once.
Although it mostly affects the respiratory system, the causes of sleep apnea are almost all dental in nature.
What is Sleep Apnea?
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, in which your breathing stops because the airway in your throat closes during sleep. This blockage can occur due to several physical factors: the muscles in the throat and tongue relaxing too much; the size of the neck, tongue, uvula, and tonsils; even the position in which you sleep. To discover what will help most in your particular case, it’s a good idea to learn more about the condition.
Aesthetic Dentistry of Fairfax has lots of information on sleep apnea, including:
- Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
- Treating Sleep Apnea
- Snoring Caused by Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Because sleep apnea occurs when you are sleeping, it can be difficult to self-diagnose. Most cases of sleep apnea are caught because the patient’s partner is kept up by snoring, or notices that the patient occasionally stops breathing. People who sleep alone are much less likely to notice the condition. However, there are other symptoms of sleep apnea that can be used to determine whether or not you are affected.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Waking up and feeling unrested
- Morning headaches
- Chronic fatigue
- Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Problems with your short-term memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should visit Aesthetic Dentistry of Fairfax and schedule a sleep apnea screening as soon as possible.
Complications from Sleep Apnea
Snoring, the main symptom of sleep apnea, is not generally considered dangerous. Most people think of it as a minor nuisance rather than something that requires immediate medical attention. But sleep apnea can have major consequences for your long-term health if left untreated, and increases your risk for many life-threatening conditions.
People with sleep apnea are at increased risk for:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Gastric Reflux
- Periodontal Disease
Sleep apnea can also be related to conditions like obesity or alcoholism. In some cases, treating these conditions can help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. But often, treating your sleep apnea is the most important step to greater overall health. A good night’s sleep is essential to long-term health, and you won’t feel rested if your body spends the whole night struggling for air.
Sleep Apnea Services
Because sleep apnea can be so detrimental to your health, it is important that you get the best possible treatment for your particular case. The causes and severity of sleep apnea can vary wildly from person to person, and what works for one person might not for another.
Here are a few of the sleep apnea treatment options we offer:
- Oral appliance therapy
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
- MicrO2 sleep and snore device
Not only will we find the sleep apnea solution that is right for you, we will follow up with you and ensure that there are no further complications from the device. Some patients find that certain treatment options create other difficulties – for example, a CPAP machine may be too loud and keep them awake – and when these arise, we will work with you to find a lasting solution.
Please contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Fairfax using the form at the right side of the page or call (703) 218-8142 today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Aboulkhair serves patients throughout Northern Virginia.