Sleep apnea isn’t always the kind of problem that’s obvious to the people who experience it. Unfortunately, this often leads to the problem having serious impacts on a person’s overall wellbeing and quality of life before they seek appropriate treatment for it. Today, we examine why it’s possible to have sleep apnea and not know it, and why it’s important to address it as soon as you do in order to mitigate its impact on your health.
What makes sleep apnea a problem?
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea, is a more common problem than many people realize. In fact, many people who have the condition have never even heard of it. It describes a sleep disorder during which your airway becomes repeatedly obstructed by mouth and throat tissues collapsing into it while you sleep. This also occurs in cases of chronic snoring, but in the case of sleep apnea, the obstruction continues until it becomes complete. This forces you to stop breathing, and for several moments, your body and brain will no longer receive any oxygen.
What happens during sleep apnea?
When you have sleep apnea, the cessation of your breathing only lasts for a moment or two at a time. It doesn’t take long for your brain and body to panic from the interruption to their oxygen supply, and your body will wake up enough to clear the obstruction so you can breathe again. This is good news for your oxygen supply, but it interrupts your sleeping pattern, and your body and brain have to settle back down into the pattern. When they do, the cycle of your airway becoming obstructed will repeat itself. The problem, however, is that you can remain unconscious throughout all of this, and for a long period of time, remain unaware that you have trouble sleeping at all.
Is there a way to resolve the problem?
There are many different symptoms and consequences of sleep apnea that can warn you of its presence. The excessively loud snoring that precedes your airway’s obstruction is one of the most common. The distinctive snoring pattern, which rises in volume and is punctuated by moments of silence as you stop breathing, can often be an indication that you’re not breathing or sleeping consistently enough throughout the night. If you do have sleep apnea, then your dentist may be able to help you resolve the problem by custom-designing an oral appliance to keep your airway clear while you sleep.
Find out if you can benefit from sleep apnea treatment
Many people suffer from sleep apnea without realizing it, but can often find lasting relief with help from a custom sleep appliance from their dentist. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.