Sleep apnea contributes to 450,000 death per year. So, yes! It is a big deal if you don’t undergo the proper channels to treat this deadly disease. If you believe you or a loved one have sleep apnea, you’re not alone. In America, sleep apnea affects more than 12 million people.
In honor of Sleep Awareness Week, let our blog guide you to help take the appropriate and proactive actions, so you can #SleepWellLiveWell.
Recognizing the symptoms
There are many warning signs of this serious disease. The biggest sign of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. That’s right – snoring is much more than an annoyance. Sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles collapse, blocking oxygen from reaching to your brain and causing your heart to work harder. As a result, you start snoring and may stop breathing multiple times throughout the night.
When your body is working harder while you sleep, this leads to additional symptoms of sleep apnea, including:
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Morning headaches
- Attention problems
It doesn’t end there. If you leave sleep apnea untreated and ignore the above symptoms, you can experience significant health risks (including death):
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of stroke
- Type II diabetes
- Acid reflux
Make lifestyle changes 101
Making changes in your daily life can help alleviate your symptoms until you get professional care.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely that you’ll snore.
- Lose weight: Being overweight is a common health risk with sleep apnea. Losing weight could help stop your snoring. Plus, it’ll improve your overall quality of life.
- Change your sleep position: Lying on your side instead of your back helps ensure your tongue doesn’t relax against the back of your throat, causing the vibrating sounds during sleep
Consult the professionals
To complement these lifestyle changes, it’s crucial you seek professional help to combat sleep apnea. Believe it or not, your dentist is able to help treat your sleep apnea by working with your sleep physician.
Typically, there are two options to treat sleep apnea:
- CPAP Machine: Known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, this machine requires you to wear a mask at night and increases air pressure in your throat so your airway doesn’t collapse while you sleep. While it is a common method to treat sleep apnea, it can be cumbersome and awkward to wear at night.
- Oral Appliance: This non-invasive solution is our preferred method. Why? You can easily transport your oral appliance on trips, and due to its small size, it is subtle and discreet. It is comfortable to wear while stopping your snoring.
Tired of being tired?
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Gocke offers consultation and treatment options. There are several treatment options available in our Northern Virginia practice to ensure proper airflow, as well as many simple laser and surgical options.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.