Insomnia, sleepiness, lack of energy – call (540) 667-8731 today to address your sleep needs.
Most people are not even aware they suffer from sleep apnea, but it is a widespread sleep disorder that can ultimately be very dangerous if not treated.
At Winchester Smiles, we understand every aspect of sleep apnea, from diagnosis through treatment. We serve the Winchester, VA, area, and you can call us at (540) 667-8731 to learn more or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
When you have sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted while you are sleeping. There are several reasons this could be happening, including:
- Being overweight
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which is most commonly seen in children
Sleep apnea does not merely keep you from having a good night’s sleep. It can have a very negative effect on your entire body and cause severe complications. Beyond the fatigue and irritability of not getting enough sleep, sleep apnea can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver problems
- Metabolic syndrome, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
When you are first diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist may recommend lifestyle changes to alleviate the symptoms. Losing weight can make a big difference, as can quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake. If you suffer from allergies, having the proper allergy treatment can decrease or eliminate your sleep apnea.
In some cases, you can alleviate your sleep apnea by changing your sleeping position. Turning onto your side and back can allow the obstruction to shift, eliminating snoring and restoring a clear airway.
If lifestyle changes have little to no effect, other therapies may be necessary.
Oral appliances are usually the first choice for therapy. Worn during sleep, these devices look like sports mouthguards or orthodontic appliances. An oral appliance helps you breathe while sleeping by preventing the soft tissues and the tongue from blocking the airway. They bring the jaw forward and are ideal for alleviating snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Oral appliances can be used on their own or in conjunction with a C-PAP system.
A continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP, is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. Consisting of a nasal mask and a pressurized air system, a CPAP device keeps a positive airflow going through your nasal passages, gently forcing the airways to stay open.
CPAP is recommended for severe sleep apnea to prevent dangerous obstruction of breathing.
Though never considered the first course of treatment, surgery may be an option for patients who have had no success with oral appliances or CPAP. Some simply cannot use either of the other therapies. Many surgical options are available, and your dentist will help you find the right surgeon for you and your needs.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, or if you want to try a new and more effective course of treatment, contact Winchester Smiles at (540) 667-8731. You can also visit our website for more information and to schedule your sleep apnea evaluation.