Have you ever been told that you snore? Do you find yourself always feeling tired? Or has your spouse kicked you out of the bed for loud snoring one too many times?
If you can relate to any of these scenarios, you may suffer from sleep apnea. An estimated 22 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, making it incredibly common, but often untreated.
In our office, we can assess whether or not sleep apnea is affecting your health. Below, you can learn more about sleep apnea and how we can help treat it.
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Sleep apnea is a condition where airways are blocked during sleep, making it difficult for air to reach the lungs. When the passage for air is blocked, it is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea, which is the type of apnea that we can help treat.
When you are lying down in bed, your head and neck are adjusted to a different style of breathing than you normally have. Often, for those who are affected by sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the back of the throat moves, making it more difficult to breathe.
For people with obstructive sleep apnea, this obstruction to the airways can happen over 100 times a night.
Sleep Apnea can happen for many reasons and affects people of all ages. However, there are some statistics that point us to why sleep apnea can occur for certain people.
Most commonly, sleep apnea is diagnosed in patients who are male, overweight, and over age 40. However, this is not always the case. Other issues such as large tonsils or tongue, a small jaw, family history of the problem, or sinus or nasal issues can make sleep apnea occur.
Sleep apnea causes you to not get enough air through the night. This can mean you do not get enough air flow to your brain, through your veins, and into your lungs.
These effects are what can cause snoring, bad sleep, and excessive tiredness each night. After awhile, more lasting effects can affect your health. These include headaches, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems.
When these symptoms are prolonged, they can lead to damaging problems like heart attack or stroke.
While sleep apnea skews more as a middle-aged, male problem, there are also plenty of instances where sleep apnea affects children. Especially for kids, it is important to catch the issue early and help them. Sleep apnea can make their performance in school suffer, can trigger ADHD symptoms, and can make them more tired and less active.
The first step for diagnosing sleep apnea is for you to come to us. At your appointment, you can let us know if you suffer from snoring and have been feeling especially sluggish. From there, we can take some tests.
We will take an x-ray of the airway to see how things are looking. In the image below, you will see how the airway on the left (where the red is pictured) is quite narrow. This narrow airway, as opposed to the normal airway on the right, shows how easily the airway can block off air.
The x-ray is taken standing up; therefore, if the x-ray shows a narrow airway when standing, imagine how much more constricted the airway is when lying down or in bed or in an awkward sleep position!
After we have determined that you are suffering from sleep apnea, we are able to customize an appliance for you that can help improve airflow while you sleep. This appliance, known as the OptiSleep, is made using a completely digital workflow. We begin by scanning your teeth, then customizing a sleep apnea tool, just for you.
But how does OptiSleep work? It’s simple: the device holds your lower teeth forward, opening up your airway significantly. This allows the patient to breathe in more fully, reduces snoring, and prevents sleep apnea from occurring.
If you, or your spouse, suffer from your snoring, it may be more than just an annoying habit. It could be interfering with your sleep patterns and causing long-term health issues.
Fixing your sleep problems can be as easy as a quick trip to our office. Schedule a consult with Dr. Will, who is skilled in determining sleep apnea problems and can treat your issue quickly and conveniently in our office.
Call us today at 615-941-2268, or click the button below to schedule your consultation online.
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