Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN
How do you feel when you wake up? Do you still feel tired, even though you slept all night? Does your partner complain about your snoring or gasping for air sounds that you make? Do you often wake up with headaches or struggle to stay awake during the day? If this sounds like you, then you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that plagues millions of adults.
What is sleep apnea?
Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, and it often occurs because the soft tissue in the airway blocks or completely restricts airflow. Although having larger than normal tonsils and adenoids can be a predisposition for some people, others simply suffer from this airway blockage due to a misaligned bite in which their lower jaw falls backward when asleep, causing the airway to become narrow and the air is restricted.
Occasional snoring, such as when you are sick and congested, is usually nothing to be alarmed about, but consistent snoring can be a problem. Nearly half of adults snore at some point, but 25% are chronic snorers. Although snoring is more common in men than in women, sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. Overweight individuals are at a higher risk of developing a sleep breathing disorder.
I cannot hear myself snore, so what is the big deal?
Even though your snoring may not bother you, it actually does in fact. Snoring means that the airway is restricted and your body is not receiving adequate amounts of air. In other words, you are depriving your body of oxygen, including your body’s organs, and blood cells, which rely upon oxygen to rejuvenate, rest and restore.
When these sleep apneic episodes occur, the brain signals to the body that it needs to wake up to breathe. Although these awakenings may not cause you to wake completely, it does interfere with the deep stage of sleep that is known as the REM cycle. It is because of these awakenings that you feel tired throughout the day, even though you “slept” all night.
What are the risks of sleep apnea?
The risks of sleep apnea go far beyond snoring and feeling tired. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even death such as in the case of former Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, and Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher. By not treating your sleep apnea, you are simply putting your health, and your life, on the line. Be sure to watch out for symptoms that may indicate you suffer from a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include, but are not limited to snoring, chronic fatigue, dry mouth/sore throat upon awakening, trouble focusing, mood swings and irritability, weight gain, and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms associated with sleep apnea, consider an evaluation by Nashville sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Brian Devine.
For a sleep apnea evaluation, contact Devine Dentistry at (615) 269-4209 to schedule an appointment.