Sleep Apnea: The Not So Silent Killer
Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that affects individuals during the night, causing the sufferer to stop breathing numerous times during sleep. Breathing can stop for as long as several minutes before the brain triggers the body to wake up and resume breathing. Often considered a disorder that plagues the overweight, sleep apnea can affect even the most fit individual and can cause serious health concerns, and sometimes, even death. At my dental office in Olathe, we’d like to educate you on a few signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, explain its dangers, and talk about the importance of getting treated.
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. While snoring has been long labeled as simply a nuisance, it can actual indicate that something is seriously wrong. Snoring typically occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for air to pass through and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs. Individuals who have sleep apnea may snore loudly, and then actually stop breathing for periods of time. The body will then wake the person and breathing resumes. This can happen hundreds of times a night.
People with untreated sleep apnea often report:
Excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day
Waking up feeling unrefreshed
Waking up choking or gasping for breath
If you or a snorer you know have experienced any of these signs, it’s important to get checked for sleep apnea to stay healthy.
Sleep apnea has been linked to several serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, increased risk for car accidents caused by drowsy driving, diabetes, depression, and several other concerning problems.
At my dental office in Olathe, we strongly encourage anyone who may be experiencing sleep apnea to get checked as soon as possible. Once an official diagnosis is complete, suggestions for your treatment may include a CPAP, a mask that’s worn during the night and forces air into your nose or mouth; a mouthpiece that’s designed to keep your airway open; or a combination of the two. Whatever treatment is right for you, it’s important to follow through on getting treated appropriately. It just might save your life.