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Things You Should Know About Sleep Apnea

Posted on March 29th, 2016

Do you know someone who snores so loud that it shakes the room? So loud that you can hear him or her even if you are down the hall or on a different floor of the house?

Is that person you?

If you or someone you know does this, then you owe it to yourself to learn about sleep apnea.

Leaving this untreated can have dire consequences for the person who is suffering from the condition and for those who are suffering because of it.

The team at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, GA, wants to help. Please keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea. Then contact us to schedule a consultation to get help for yourself or for someone you know.

> Most people with sleep apnea don’t know that they have it.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million people have sleep apnea in the United States. Unfortunately, a majority of them have never been diagnosed.

Sleep apnea can affect anyone although some people are more likely than others to have this condition:

  • Men who are over 40
  • People who are overweight
  • Men with a neck circumference over 17 inches
  • Women with a neck circumference over 15 inches
  • Being a smoker
  • Being a regular alcohol or sedative user

> Sleep apnea prevents you from getting healthy sleep.

People who have sleep apnea stop breathing while they are asleep for up to 30 seconds at a time. Your body responds to this by waking you up, sometimes hundreds of times each night.

These interruptions are often so brief that you have no memory of them taking place. But they are enough to prevent you from getting healthy sleep.

Healthy sleep includes four cycles. The first three are different stages of non-REM sleep and the fourth is REM (rapid eye movement).

The third non-REM and the REM stages are when we reach the deepest stages of sleep. These are vital to getting the recuperative benefits of sleep. Every time you wake up, however briefly, you start a new cycle.

If you have sleep apnea, you may reach the deep stages of sleep only on rare occasions, which explains why you can feel incredibly tired when you wake up in the morning.

> Your sleep apnea may be preventing your partner from sleeping, too.

One of the most obvious symptoms of sleep apnea is loud and persistent snoring. This is particularly common among people with obstructive sleep apnea, which is also the most common type of this disorder.

Snoring can be as loud as a vacuum cleaner when it’s turned on or an alarm clock. If you are sharing a bed with someone, try to imagine what it would be like if your alarm went off several times an hour. That’s basically what your partner is dealing with every night.

Your sleep apnea may be preventing you and your partner from getting the healthy sleep that he or she needs, too.

> Sleep apnea more than doubles your risk of being in a car accident.

A study published last year in the journal Sleep found that people with untreated sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be a driver involved in a car crash than people without sleep apnea.

This is a result of the poor quality sleep you may be getting. Lack of healthy sleep can leave you feeling fatigued throughout the day, and it can make you more likely to doze off.

This may happen when you are behind a desk, which can be embarrassing, or behind the wheel, which could be fatal.

> Sleep apnea increases your risk of a heart attack.

If the increased risk of a car wreck didn’t worry you, maybe this will. Sleep apnea increases your risk of cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes, according to the American Heart Association.

> You can get help from the dentist.

Everyone snores sometimes, but the dentists at Atlanta West Dentistry want to help you find out if your snoring or your spouse’s snoring is a symptom of a bigger problem.

If you or your loved one does have sleep apnea, then we may be able to treat it.

One of the approved treatments for sleep apnea is an oral appliance, which we can create for you. This is similar to an athletic mouthguard that you wear while you are asleep.

This mouthguard can keep your airways open so you continue breathing while you are sleeping. This allows you to sleep deeper and longer. This also cuts down on your snoring, which you spouse with appreciate, too.

To schedule your consultation, call (770) 941-6979 or use our online appointment form.