As one of the most common sleep disorders experienced by millions of Americans, obstructive sleep apnea can cause more than just sleep deprivation. While most of the symptoms can be easily associated with other disorders or conditions, many patients receive misdiagnoses or go undiagnosed for years. But as the problem worsens, so do the chances of developing serious health-related problems including cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological conditions. To find out if you have obstructive sleep apnea in Denver, let us explain some of the symptoms and available treatment options offered by your dentist.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When you’re asleep, and you cease breathing for 10 seconds or more, you are experiencing what is known as apnea. As the soft tissues and throat become relaxed, it eventually collapses and results in a blocked airway. This can happen once or hundreds of times each night. As a person stops breathing, the brain must be triggered in order to alert the body to its need to breathe. When this happens, the person will wake up often gasping or choking for air. This process, which can occur over and over again while asleep, can cause a person’s blood pressure to go up and down, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes a person to have a disrupted sleep cycle, and over time, it will begin to negatively affect the brain, heart, and other areas of the body.
What Are the Symptoms?
As we mentioned earlier, some of the symptoms associated with OSA are not easy to detect; however, if you do experience any of the following, it might be a clear sign that you need to talk to your dentist about having a sleep study in Denver conducted.
- Daytime fatigue
- Irritability or mood swings
- Forgetfulness or loss of memory
- Loss of libido
- Loud snoring
- Waking up gasping for air
- Morning headaches
How Can a Sleep Study Help?
If you or someone you love is experiencing the symptoms of OSA, undergoing sleep testing in Denver is the best way to receive an official diagnosis. Whether you go to a sleep center to have the test done or your dentist provides you with special equipment to wear at home that will track your sleep pattern, both will generate results that can determine if you do have sleep apnea.
Once it is confirmed, you and your dentist can begin to discuss viable options for treatment.
What Treatment Options are Available?
While a CPAP machine is the most common form of treatment, many patients have a difficult time adjusting to the bulky machinery. Thankfully, doctors have come up with another solution to treat patients suffering from OSA. Oral appliance therapy is an alternative treatment option that is small, compact, and portable.
This type of device adjusts the jaw and/or tongue just enough, so the airway remains open while sleeping. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s easy to wear.
Apart from oral devices, there are other methods of treatment, but depending on your individual needs, they may or may not work for you. They include:
- Positional therapy
- Weight loss
- Nasal decongestant
- Breathing mask
If you’re tired of always feeling drowsy, irritable, and are ready to do something about your lack of sleep, talk to your dentist. There’s no reason to continue living like a zombie. Treatment options are available, so maybe it’s time to find one that’s right for you.
About the Author
Dr. Gary Radz discovered oral sleep appliances 10 years ago after being diagnosed with sleep apnea. Placed on a CPAP machine, he realized he was unable to comfortably wear the device, so after suffering for a year, he found many dentists treating their patients with oral appliances. After receiving one himself, he began to learn more and provide care for his patients suffering from sleep apnea. To learn more about how Dr. Radz can help you, visit our website or call (303) 377-5337.