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Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Your local dentist is diagnosing sleep apnea, a disorder that affects millions of Americans and can prove potentially life-threatening in many cases. The majority of those suffering from the disorder are not currently receiving treatment – some individuals don’t even realize they’re affected.

Sleep apnea occurs as tissue located near the back of your throat collapses and blocks the airway. This collapse significantly reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to your vital organs, affecting areas like the heart and brain. This cycle will result in repeatedly waking up throughout the night – potentially hundreds of times – either occurring so fast you’re not aware it or enough that you feel completely unrested in the morning.

Men and women of any age are susceptible to sleep apnea, although the disorder mainly affects older and obese individuals. The condition will progressively worsen with age and weight gain.

In addition to physical risk, you should also look for …

  • Falling asleep throughout the day
  • Overall sleepiness and fatigue
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Waking from sleep, choking or short of breath
  • Loud snoring

Your dentist is often the first professional to notice a potential problem as they are usually in more direct contact than a physician. Should you exhibit signs of sleep apnea, your dentist will send you to a sleep medicine specialist who can further assess your condition.

Treatment options for sleep apnea will vary in accordance with the severity of the condition. Mild sleep apnea may need to make minor adjustments like altering their sleeping position, focusing on slimming down, or cutting out smoking. A simple dental appliance, similar to a mouth guard, can also help remedy the situation.

More severe cases of sleep apnea may require a more thorough course of treatment in addition to the steps listed above. If you believe you’re exhibiting signs of sleep apnea, get with your dentist and receive a proper diagnosis. Contact us today!

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