At Shenandoah Family Dentistry we understand how serious sleep apnea is. We also understand that its symptoms can lead you to live an unfulfilled life. Since this is something nobody wants to experience, we aim to educate you about this disorder and how to surpass it.
Types of Sleep Apnea
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when your throat muscles relax too much while you’re asleep. However, there are also other types including central sleep apnea (this is when your brain doesn’t properly signal your breathing muscles while you’re asleep) and complex sleep apnea (a.k.a. treatment-emergent sleep apnea—occurring when you have a combination of both other types of sleep apnea).
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The signs and individual symptoms of these varying types of sleep apnea overlap. This can make it challenging to diagnose what type of sleep apnea a patient is suffering from. The most common symptoms of obtrusive sleep apnea include loud snoring; episodes of breathing cessation while you’re asleep; abruptly waking up feeling short of breath or having a dry mouth or a sore throat; having a headache in the morning; insomnia; hypersomnia; attention problems; and irritability. You should consult your doctor if you experience any of these things or if you’re snoring so loudly you disturb other people; gasp or choke to the point it wakes you; or you feel excessively drowsy throughout the day—to the point you fall asleep while working, watching TV, or driving.
Complications Caused by Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious health concern with many complications. Daytime fatigue is the most obvious. It’s caused by repeatedly waking up throughout the night, making restorative sleep impossible and leaving you irritable throughout the day. You may also find it difficult to concentrate, which increases your likelihood of having an accident. It can also make you feel angry, moody, or depressed. If you find yourself feeling this way, just think what your sleep issue is doing to your partner. It keeps them from getting a good night’s sleep too.
Besides having a mental impact, sleep apnea also has a physical impact as well. It can cause high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension), heart problems (including heart attacks, abnormal heartbeats, and atrial fibrillation), Type 2 diabetes (especially in regards to insulin resistance), metabolic syndrome (a combination of conditions including high blood pressure, irregular cholesterol levels, high blood sugar at times, and increased circumference of the waist), liver problems, low blood oxygen (hypoxemia or hypoxia), and an increased risk of suffering from a stroke. These occur because of the strain that’s placed on your body due to sudden drops in your blood oxygen levels. If you already have an underlying heart issue, these things can take an even worse toll on your body.
When you’re ready to reclaim your life from the grips of this disorder, give us a call at Shenandoah Family Dentistry. You can reach us at (540) 667-8731. We welcome your call so we can set up an appointment to visit with you in our office and start treatment for this disorder soon.