There once was a time when you jumped out of bed, eager to start a new day. But unfortunately, that seems like a mere memory from the remote past, because lately you’ve found yourself constantly waking up throughout the night and then struggling the next day to fight fatigue. You can’t quite put your finger on what’s causing the problem, but you know that you need relief fast. Your dentist says that these could be the symptoms of sleep apnea of Topeka. Learn why this is not an issue to take lightly and how your dentist can help you regain your former quality of life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder where you stop and start breathing several times while sleeping. A common trait that is associated with this condition is extreme fatigue, which is the result of constantly waking up throughout the night. And the reason that you go through this sleep roller coaster is that the brain has a built-in protection mechanism that alerts you, subconsciously, to wake up when your breathing stops.
Signs That You May Have Sleep Apnea
There are certain signs to be on the lookout for, that are associated with sleep apnea, including:
- Gasping for Air – If you have to struggle for air while you’re sleeping, this could be a sign of sleep apnea.
- Fatigue – You may find yourself feeling fatigued at the start of your day, as if you’ve had no rest.
- Daytime Lethargy – Another warning sign of sleep apnea, is an umbrella of lethargy that seems to hover over you throughout the day.
- Less Motivation – You may also find yourself lacking the drive and motivation that you once had.
- Struggling to Concentrate – A fatigued mind is one that will lack focus and direction, which are classic signs of sleep apnea.
More Severe Cases of Sleep Apnea
If you fail to take action when you notice the above symptoms, there can be more severe consequences. Some of them are:
- High Blood Pressure – When you don’t get the proper rest that your body needs, it can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to high blood pressure.
- Heart Attack or Stroke – Oxygen flow is vital for sustaining all of your bodily functions. Therefore, any interruption in your breathing increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Diabetes – If you have diabetes, sleep apnea can worsen the symptoms because it can contribute to elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels.
How Your Dentist Can Help You
Your dentist in Topeka will first assess your airway, and based on what he finds, he will either refer you to a sleep physician (for more severe cases) or provide you with an in-home testing unit (for mild-moderate cases). Your dentist will work in concert with the physician to assess your results and decide the best course of treatment.
If you are diagnosed with a mild-moderate case of sleep apnea, you have two options: the CPAP breathing machine, or a custom-designed appliance made by your dentist. The CPAP machine consists of a mask and tube that deliver oxygen throughout the night.
Some people find this method to be cumbersome and uncomfortable. If you too dislike it, then a custom-designed appliance will help to push your jaw forward and tighten the muscles in your throat, so that your airway remains open throughout the night, and in a more comfortable manner.
If it’s brought to your attention that you’re demonstrating some of the traits associated with sleep apnea, then take the proactive approach and reach out to your dentist so that you can be properly tested and diagnosed. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than 10 pounds of cure.”
About the Author
Dr. Michael Michel received his Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University and then went on to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. Experienced in sleep medicine and many other treatment methods, Dr. Michel works tirelessly to stay abreast of the latest advances in dentistry. He practices at Michel Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.