Snoring is a common issue among many Americans. But not all snoring is created equal. Some snoring is caused by the inability to breathe during sleep, and those that struggle with this condition may struggle with numerous health consequences, including:
- Insufficient Sleep
- High Blood Pressure
- Headaches, Eye Pain, Anxiety, and More
The term for this is “Sleep Apnea,” and it can have an effect on your daily life in numerous ways – from excessive sleepiness during the day to reduced productivity at school or work. Over time, that constant loss of breathing can cause you to put stress on your heart, hyperventilate, and in rare cases trigger nighttime panic attacks.
Yet most people that have sleep apnea have no idea until they are told by a partner, or experience symptoms that they cannot explain. This is because, after you stop breathing, your body wakes you up from your sleep, you take a breath, and generally fall right back to sleep again with no memory of the event.
If you find yourself waking up feeling exhausted on a regular basis or you've been told by others that you snore, you may want to consult an experienced doctor or orthodontist that knows and treats sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three different types of sleep apnea. These include:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea. When you sleep, the muscles at the back of the throat relax, obstructing the airways. It is very common with those that struggle with excess weight, especially in the neck area, but can affect those without weight issues.
- Central Sleep Apnea – This type is of sleep apnea is caused by misfiring of signals in the brain. The brain doesn't send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing during sleep, leading to breathing issues.
- Complex Sleep Apnea – Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. This is uncommon, but can occur in select populations.
No matter the type of sleep apnea, all sleep apnea is treatable. However, the type of sleep apnea may affect the choice in treatments.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea always causes symptoms, but many of these symptoms go unnoticed unless they become more severe, or until a loved one tells them they've heard them snore loudly or stop breathing at night. The most common symptoms are:
- Snoring Loudly – Often with moments of gasping or choking before falling immediately sleeping again.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness – Unexplained tiredness despite getting what should have been a full night’s rest.
- Morning Headaches – Generally caused by lack of sleep, and the stress that sleep apnea puts on the body.
- Dry Mouth and Sore Throat – Both of which are related to the snoring and pressure on the throat area during sleep.
- Unexplained High Blood Pressure – As sleep apnea gets worse, it may lead to high blood pressure that is difficult to explain.
You may also experience the symptoms of sleep deprivation, including trouble concentrating, irritability, and other related symptoms.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of age, size, or general health, however, there are some known risk factors. Being overweight, having a large neck circumference, or a family history of sleep apnea are all known to increase the likelihood that you develop sleep apnea.
Your lifestyle can also play a part – if you're a smoker or use alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers you have a much higher risk of having sleep apnea.
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea. The most common are devices called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or BiPap (BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure). These devices though can be very cumbersome and uncomfortable. They also cause side effects, including headaches, sore throat, and dry mouth. Many people with sleep apnea stop using these to treat their condition.
Fortunately, there have been many other less invasive devices that help sleep apnea come into the marketplace over the last few years through the use of orthodontic appliances. These are far more comfortable, more discreet and more portable than traditional methods and they are very effective at improving the underlying cause of sleep apnea.
Call to Find Out About Our Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
ReMarkable Smiles specializes in orthodontic treatments for sleep apnea. If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea and would like to find out what options are available for improving your quality of sleep, call our officetoday at (949) 770-8011 to schedule a free consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you have. We are based in Mission Viejo and our proud to serve the entire Orange County area.