Sleep Apnea: The Not So Silent Killer

added on: July 23, 2014

sleep apneaSleep 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 our dental office in Tuscaloosa, 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
  • Insomnia
  • Waking up choking or gasping for breath
  • Chronic fatigue

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 our dental office in Tuscaloosa, 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.

Serving patients in Tuscaloosa, Northport and Cottondale.