If your snoring is keeping other people awake at night or if you frequently wake up feeling as tired as you were when you went to bed, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. The common sleeping disorder is more than just an annoyance; it’s a serious condition that can lead to congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, mood swings and chronic fatigue that can cause accidents and injuries.
If you or someone you love is struggling with snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, please contact Evolution Dental today online or at 403-208-9965 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kendra Schick. We help patients from Calgary, Cochrane and neighboring Alberta communities.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that impairs your sleep cycles by interrupting your breathing. This can happen hundreds of times each night. When your body continuously struggles for breath, it is forced out of deep sleep into a lighter, less rewarding sleep cycle in order to breathe.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is caused by a blockage in your air passage. This blockage is the result of a collapse in the soft tissue at the back of your throat and tongue. In the event of a partial collapse, you may only experience harmless snoring. However, if a full collapse occurs, your breathing becomes slow and shallow. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the body does not receive adequate oxygen and does not sufficiently expel carbon dioxide.
- Central sleep apnea: This type of sleep disorder occurs when your brain and central nervous system fail to tell your body to breathe during slumber. Airway blockages are not to blame in central sleep apnea; it is more of a respiratory malfunction. People who suffer from this form of sleep disorder can suffer pauses in breathing that can last up to two minutes, which can seriously impact the amount of oxygen going to your brain and heart.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep is one of the most important bodily functions. People who consistently have restful sleeps tend to lead healthier, longer and more productive lives. One of the most essential components of a good night’s rest is an unobstructed airway.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that sleep apnea symptoms occur during slumber, many people who suffer from the condition are unaware of their possible situation. Symptoms of sleep apnea can include:
- Repeatedly waking and gasping for breath throughout the night
- Irregular heart beat
- Acid reflux
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
- Tossing and turning during sleep
- Mood swings
- Memory and concentration problems
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Waking with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Frequent morning headaches
Sleep apnea can affect children as well. Kids who may have sleep apnea may show symptoms such as:
- Bed wetting
- Restless sleep with frequent awakenings throughout the night
- Problems with attention
- Excessive snoring
- Not growing as fast as others in their age group
If any of the symptoms listed above, alone or combined with snoring, persist for more than a few weeks, you should consider getting a sleep apnea evaluation with Dr. Schick.
Sleep Apnea Causes
In addition to making you awaken feeling tired and not refreshed, sleep apnea presents a serious danger in the form of oxygen deprivation. When you don’t get enough oxygen, a number of problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and cognitive problems may arise.
But why does sleep apnea develop in the first place? Causes of sleep apnea include:
- Relaxed throat and tongue muscles
- Smaller than normal airway
- Large tonsils, adenoids or other anatomical difference
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Nasal congestion
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Other physical conditions disorders and syndromes
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Many people who experience sleep apnea use a device called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to treat the condition. While CPAP is often an effective treatment, it requires the placement of a mask over the face during sleep. Many patients find this solution so cumbersome they are unable to fall asleep in the first place and many patients simply do not comply with the treatment over a period of time.
At Evolution Dental, we offer a comfortable and effective alternative to CPAP. If appropriate for your situation, Dr. Schick may send you home with a dental device to wear while you sleep. This oral appliance fits in your mouth and is made of a control-cured dental grade poly methyl methacrylate material. This material allows the mouth guard to be smaller and more comfortable than traditional mandibular advancement devices.
During your sleep apnea evaluation, Dr. Schick will assess your situation and explain all of your options, including CPAP.
Contact Evolution Dental Today
If you live in Calgary, Northwest Calgary, Cochrane or other nearby areas of Alberta and would like to learn more about your sleep apnea treatment options, please call Evolution Dental today at 403-208-9965 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kendra Schick.