Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over, yawning through meetings and drifting off in front of the TV? Lots of things can cause daytime sleepiness but one of the main contributors is sleep apnea. In fact, more than 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea and 10 million more are estimated to be undiagnosed. Sleep apnea not only contributes to daytime sleepiness, it places a great deal of stress on your body including your heart, which could lead to hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and even congestive heart failure. It can also be a contributing factor to memory loss, mood disorders, and even place stress on your libido.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing for 10 to 20 seconds or more – often because of an obstruction or collapse in the throat. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour creating a lack of oxygen. That lack of oxygen is what places all the stress on your body: Imagine holding your breath for up to a minute, 20 or 30 times a night! It can really take its toll.
Dr. Sophia Masters can screen for this disorder during regular dental visits and refer you to an appropriate sleep center or doctor. If you are diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or have trouble tolerating your prescribed CPAP machine, Dr. Masters can often help with a custom-made dental appliance designed to help keep your airway open.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
According to the American Sleep Association, the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Choking or gasping during sleep
Fighting sleepiness during the day (even at work or while driving)
Memory or learning problems
Not being able to concentrate on your work
Mood swings or personality changes; perhaps feeling depressed
Dry throat when you wake up
If you or a loved one have any of these signs or symptoms, please call our Clinton Township dental office as soon as possible.