One of the biggest problems with overcoming sleep apnea is that many patients who have it don’t know that they do. While some of the symptoms of it may be obvious, such as chronic loud snoring, they don’t always make sleep apnea itself obvious. In fact, patients can often experience it for years before finally being diagnosed with sleep apnea and receiving appropriate treatment. Today, we explain why sleep apnea can be so elusive, and what it means if you have sleep apnea to your sleep quality and overall wellbeing.
Why it’s called obstructive sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder that directly impacts your sleep quality, though its origins are often related to your oral health. Formally referred to as obstructive sleep apnea, the common form of the condition involves mouth and/or throat tissues collapsing into your airway as you sleep. The blockage this creates is the reason why you snore; as your airway gets more obstructed, your breathing becomes more labored, and the walls of your throat will vibrate loudly. However, the noise will stop suddenly once the airway’s obstruction is complete, causing you to stop breathing.
Why snoring could be a warning of sleep apnea
Snoring a lot doesn’t automatically mean that you have obstructive sleep apnea. Many people can snore consistently and to varying degrees for a number of different reasons, some of which are exceedingly minor. However, having sleep apnea means that you’ll snore extremely loudly every night, and in a pattern that involves periodic moments of silence as you stop breathing repeatedly. If your partner complains of such snoring, then it may be an important warning sign to see your dentist about the possibility of having sleep apnea.
How sleep apnea diminishes your sleep quality
In addition to the chronically loud snoring you experience every night, sleep apnea also has several important impacts on your quality of life. When sleep apnea repeatedly interrupts your sleep breathing pattern, your body and brain have to keep actively clearing the airway throughout the night. This makes it impossible for them to rest, or for you to enter the deep levels of sleep required for your body’s and brain’s cells to recuperate. Over time, this diminishes your sleep quality to the point that you can begin to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation throughout the day, even if you believe that you’re sleeping peacefully every night.
Find out if we can help you sleep more soundly
Without appropriate treatment, obstructive sleep apnea can continuously cost you much-needed deep sleep, leading to sleep deprivation and a wide range of risks to your systemic health. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.