The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that more than 25 million adults suffer from sleep apnea ranging from mild to severe. The term sleep apnea describes several pauses during sleep, known as apneas, that interrupt breathing for at least a few seconds at a time. Although common, sleep apnea in Florham Park, New Jersey can cause severe symptoms that reduce quality of life if not diagnosed and treated properly.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can occur due to just one risk factor or several of them. Some of the most common risk factors associated with sleep apnea include:
- Advanced age
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic stress
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Having a large tongue, tonsils and/or neck
- Male gender
- Weak airway muscles
When an apnea of any type occurs during sleep, it deprives the body of oxygen and can cause extreme daytime sleepiness. Many people report that their cognitive functioning is not what it should be simply because they are so tired all the time. The most common causes of fatal sleep apnea include increased blood pressure, oxygen deprivation, and excessive strain on the heart.
The American Dental Association reports that approximately 22 percent of men and 17 percent of women have sleep apnea. The organization considers experiencing an apnea at least 13 times per hour for men and six times for women to be a severe problem.
How to Recognize Sleep Apnea
Unless your sleeping partner informs you that you had symptoms of sleep apnea during the night, you might never know, since people often remain unconscious during the episodes. Be sure to ask your bed partner to let you know and to keep a pen and paper on your nightstand so you can write down symptoms yourself. Here are the symptoms you should be aware of:
- Anxiety and/or depression that seemed to come on suddenly
- Breathing becomes shallow or non-existent, even if only for a second
- Daytime fatigue
- Decreased ability to pay attention and remember details
- Decreased sexual desire or problems with performance
- Dry mouth upon waking up in the morning
- Headaches when waking up
- Non-stop loud snoring
- Post-nasal drip and/or stuffed nose
- Waking up often during the night to urinate
- Waking yourself up because you are gasping for air
Keep in mind that these are just the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Please contact us to discuss treatment for sleep apnea in Florham Park, NJ if you suspect that you have this common disorder, even if you don’t see your symptoms listed here. Dealing with these symptoms day after day makes life much more difficult than it needs to be, and we are available to help.
Remember that children develop this disorder also, although their symptoms may appear as behavioral or academic problems. Adults of any age can develop this oral health disorder as well.
Receive Sleep Apnea Treatment from Your Dentist
When the situation warrants it, going to the dentist is sometimes more convenient than going to the doctor when you consider the time it takes to get an appointment and receive the services you need. The first thing your dentist will do is ask you several questions to determine your symptoms and how they affect you. A dental X-ray further helps our team understand what the symptoms have done to your oral health and what we can do to help.
Behavior modification is the first course of action for most patients. People learn how to manage their stress better, improve sleep hygiene, improve their diet, and lose weight if necessary. Keep in mind that you may need treatment for issues caused by sleep apnea, such as a dry mouth or worn tooth enamel, even after you stop displaying symptoms at night.
When changing your controllable risk factors doesn’t bring the relief you had hoped, the next step is to wear a customized mouth guard at night. The mouth guard prevents you from grinding or clenching your teeth and keeps your airways open to ensure safe breathing all night long. Feel free to request an appointment for sleep apnea treatment in Florham Park, NJ today.
Sleep Apnea (Obstructive) | American Dental Association (ada.org)
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Oral Health (verywellhealth.com)
Rising prevalence of sleep apnea in U.S. threatens public health – American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers (aasm.org)