Patients can suffer from sleep apnea and be totally unaware they are being subjected to the potential dangers this condition can pose.
Patients with sleep apnea literally stop breathing numerous times throughout the night or during naps. When the individual reclines, the muscles near the throat relax allowing for the potential for the airway to be blocked … the result is interrupted sleep; and the sufferer may have no idea the condition exists.
Quite often a partner may be aware of sleep peculiarities such as loud snoring (it is important to note that snoring itself may not indicate a problem); awakening with coughing or choking sounds; restless tossing and turning.
The individual may feel exhausted throughout the day, deal with headaches and/or a sore throat, and just feel something is not right but not have a clue what is causing their symptoms. Some patients report feeling depressed and losing interest in many activities. Daytime sleepiness can be hazardous for people who rely on alertness in their work, but even driving to and from work can be a problem for staying awake after nights of sleeplessness.
There are diagnostic tests available to test for sleep apnea, but many patients start out with a visit with their dentist. A mouth guard can be fabricated by your dental provider … when worn this device will position your jaw to prevent the soft tissues in the mouth and throat from collapsing and blocking the airway.
There are different types of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea is the condition that is most often treated with a mouth guard.
Other suggestions some patients have found helpful include weight loss (even a few pounds can make a difference); altering sleeping position to your side; avoiding caffeinated foods and beverages after mid-day; limit or discontinue alcohol consumption; stop smoking; do not use illicit drugs. There are some medications that can have the opposite effect from what you might think, especially those containing codeine or antihistamines.
Most everyone deals with lack of sleep occasionally, and it is not usually hazardous once in a while. But if sleep apnea is a consideration, finding a solution can be as simple as a visit to your dentist , Dr. Philip Kozlow… or ask your dentist about your concerns during your semi-annual visit for a cleaning and exam.