Sleep Apnea

Everyone deserves to feel well-rested and refreshed after a full night of sleep, but what does it mean if you don’t? If waking up feeling groggy, moody, or with impaired memory is your normal; then you should know that it is anything but good for you.

By far, one of the most severe and common sleep disorders that doctors investigate is sleep apnea. So, what is sleep apnea, and how can it negatively impact your life? Plus, how can your family dentist help?

Sleep Apnea Defined

Sleep apnea is a potentially harmful sleep disorder in which breathing patterns are staggered. On average, an individual with sleep apnea repeatedly interrupts breathing at least five times per hour for at least ten seconds throughout the night when uncontrolled.

Although there are multiple types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form. Muscles support the tongue, soft palate, and other soft tissues in your throat. When these throat muscles in the back of your throat relax, the airway narrows, and breathing halts for a moment. Consequently, vital oxygen supply is temporarily cut off and causes significant health issues throughout the body.

Signs of OSA

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea struggle to get a good night’s rest, and it’s not surprising. This condition directly impacts your sleep, and some classic sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring, choking, and gasping sounds during sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent urination
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Moodiness
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Impaired memory
  • Weight gain

Risk Factors of OSA

What triggers sleep apnea? Although every individual is different, some reasons why you might have a higher chance of developing sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity
  • Thicker neck circumference
  • Narrowed airway
  • Nasal congestions
  • Increased age
  • Family history
  • Use of sedatives, alcohol, or tranquilizers before bed
  • Smoking
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and more

Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

While technically it’s possible to live with untreated sleep apnea, it can make life more challenging. Sleep apnea imbalances body and brain chemistry, disrupts respiratory and cardiovascular function, and interrupts circadian rhythms (the body’s natural clock).

If ignored, sleep apnea causes:

  • An increased likelihood of heart attack
  • A 2 to 3 times higher risk of stroke
  • More than 3 times the risk of premature death

How to Treat Sleep Apnea

Before treatment begins, Dr. Nikhaar Keshwani prescribes an at-home sleep study to monitor airflow, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and more. If she suspects obstructive sleep apnea, she will start with simple sleep apnea treatment and then work her way up to more intensive sleep apnea treatment options, such as:

  • Lifestyle changes, like not sleeping on your back or exercising more
  • Sleep apnea devices, like a sleep apnea mouth guard

If these conservative sleep apnea treatments are ineffective, Dr. Keshwani can refer you to a specialist for more invasive treatment (for example, a CPAP machine).

Get the Rest that You Deserve, and Schedule a Sleep Apnea Screening and Treatment in San Antonio

Dr. Keshwani and her team are equipped to help you get a better night’s sleep through sleep apnea screening and prescribing a sleep apnea mouth guard as a conservative yet sleep-saving next step. If you believe that you or a loved one are suffering from OSA, please don’t hesitate to call 210-732-3333 or contact Babcock Family Dental.