Chronic fatigue and sleepiness during the daytime, snoring, and waking up to a dry mouth at night are telltale signs of obstructive sleep apnea. If this description fits you, worry not, since Dr. Robert Garelick and his team at Chase Dental Sleepcare are here to help you. This condition can affect both children and adults, so you should be on the lookout for it among your family members.
Risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is life-threatening since it makes your organs receive reduced amounts of oxygen, resulting in abnormal heart rhythms. If you have obstructive sleep apnea disorder, your upper airway becomes blocked when throat muscles relax during sleep.
The reduced airflow causes your diaphragm and chest muscles to overwork while opening the airway so that the lungs can get enough oxygen. This causes you to have shallow and intermittent breaths resulting in carbon dioxide buildup in the body. You might choke, snort, or gasp for air when trying to breathe, which can happen up to 30 times in an hour during the night. Even though OSA can prevent you from having a restful sleep, you may not notice this while asleep. Other symptoms of the condition may include:
- Feeling depressed
- Sleep restlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent urination
- Having night sweats
- Sleeping with your mouth open
- Diminished libido
- Exhibiting gastroesophageal reflux and high blood pressure
Diagnosis and Treatment
An extensive diagnosis is required to help treat OSA. Your dentist might need you to spend a night under observation in a sleep lab. During your stay at the lab, the dentist will observe your heart rate and rhythm, level of oxygen in your blood, movement of arms and legs, time spent at various sleep stages, and body position while measuring your airflow and breathing patterns. After your diagnosis has been confirmed, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan to enhance your sleep quality.
Options Available for You
You can do several things on your own to slow down OSA, subject to how severe your symptoms are.
- Exercise to lose weight helps relieve the symptoms of the disorder.
- Refrain from alcohol or sleeping pills before going to bed.
- Start sleeping on your side and not facing the ceiling.
- Use of nasal sprays to decongest the nose.
What Your Doctor May Recommend
If your home remedies for OSA have failed, your doctor can recommend the following measures:
- Use of a CPAP machine together with a nasal mask or pillow to help maintain a constant flow of air into your nose and mouth and keep your upper airway open.
- Wearing an oral mandibular advancement device. This oral appliance helps avoid airway blockage by the tongue by moving your lower jaw forward.
- Surgery to clear your throat and nose of adenoids or tonsils.
You need to seek quality diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea. The condition can severely affect your comfort and is life-threatening. Visit us today to get a solution that is suited to your needs from our specialists.