Sleep Apnea: A Serious and Treatable Condition
Sleep apnea is a serious condition and one that can impact a person's health quite negatively. Still, it is a relatively unknown health problem and one that most people are not aware they are struggling with. Instead of realizing that they have a sleep condition, most people assume that they are just tired from working too hard or that they are feeling generally unwell. The problem with this misconception is that it can be dangerous. It prevents people from getting the help that they need to address the sleep condition and to feel better.
With that in mind, we recommend looking for the symptoms below in yourself or a family member:
- Snoring loudly
- Choking while sleeping
- Being more tired than usual
- Falling asleep when doing mundane activities like driving or working on the computer
- Feeling tired and disoriented
- Being overly tired and having a weakened immune system
- Being unable to stay awake past dinner
These symptoms are sometimes indicators of a sleeping condition. They can also be a sign of sleep apnea.
Problems With Sleep Apnea
Beyond the condition itself, there are numerous problems that can arise from not getting enough sleep. Primarily, it can lower a person's immune system and reduce their ability to fight off illnesses and infections. This means that someone with a sleep disorder may be more likely to suffer from a common cold, the flu or strep throat.
Additionally, if a person is unable to stay awake when completing routine activities, it can be incredibly dangerous. This is especially true when driving since it is easy to get into a car accident when fatigued. It is also dangerous in the workplace especially for anyone who operates some type of machinery.
Because of the health and personal risks associated with sleep apnea, it is important for someone to identify the symptoms and schedule an appointment to find out if they have the condition.
What Happens During Sleep?
When a person has obstructive sleep apnea, the jaw falls backwards at night and the tongue along with it. This is typically because the muscles are not strong enough to hold the jaw in the proper position. When the tongue begins to fall backwards, it obstructs the natural airway and makes it difficult to breathe. This is why people will snore and choke in their sleep.
When the body is fighting to receive oxygen, it does not get what is necessary for the organs to function at optimal capacity. This means that the body needs to work extra hard in order to function. Naturally, this can lead to incredible levels of fatigue and problems like falling asleep when driving.
The good news is that we can treat sleep apnea using noninvasive methods. This is incredibly important because it allows our patients to receive help immediately without the need for anything invasive or surgical. In fact, we treat the condition by providing patients with an oral appliance that is worn at night. It is effective for holding the jaw in the forward position. By ensuring that the jaw does not fall backwards, the tongue will also remain forward and the airway clear and unobstructed. The oral appliance is comfortable and easy to wear at night. Patients report feeling better in as little as a couple of days. It is a truly effective and convenient way to address the sleep disorder and improve the health of our patients.
November 15, 2017