5 Signs You Might be suffereing from ill effects of Sleep Apnea and One Thing You Can Do About It

sleep apnea

At one point in time, maybe even only a few years ago, Sleep apnea was not well-known among the public. Now, thankfully, public awareness of sleep apnea is much higher. After all, it is a dangerous condition, and because it is a disease that affects sleep, many people who have sleep apnea aren’t even aware of this sleep disorder.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will temporarily stop breathing during the night—up to hundreds of times! The health implications are quite serious, as sleep apnea is linked to many cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart arrhythmias. So if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea

So what are some signs or risk factors for sleep apnea?

1. You’re overweight.

Body weight is linked to obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by tissues in the upper throat collapsing, constricting the flow of air to the lungs. Heavier people can have tissue built up around their neck and throat; these tissues fall back and obstruct the airway when they’re lying down.

2. You have high blood pressure.

When you stop breathing during an episode of sleep apnea, less oxygen gets to your brain. Since your brain needs to maintain sufficient oxygen levels at all times, this can lead to spikes in blood pressure as your body tries to compensate for low oxygen levels by pumping more blood, faster, to your brain.

3. You’re often tired during the day.

Even if you think you’re getting plenty of sleep at night, you probably aren’t if you’re suffering from apnea. Not only do the interruptions detract from the amount of sleep you’re getting; they also detract from the quality of sleep. If you have difficulty waking up in the morning, feel tired all day long, need frequent naps, or doze off on occasion, you might have apnea.

4. You’re frequently irritated, depressed, or prone to mood swings.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can quickly have an impact on your mood. Your body releases cortisol, a hormone that causes stress if you’re sleep deprived. This means you might end up feeling anxious, irritable, or just out of sorts frequently.

5. You snore.

If your spouse or significant other tells you that you snore, or if your snoring wakes you up, then that’s a good sign you might have sleep apnea. In fact, snoring is the most common sign of sleep apnea.

And now, for one thing, you might not know about sleep apnea: there are treatment options other than a CPAP(Continuous positive airway pressure)machine. In fact, if you have sleep apnea, you can call your dentist for help. There are simple oral appliances (mouth guards) that can position your jaw in such a way that it keeps your airway open during the night. 

Management and treatment for sleep apnea

Conservative treatments for sleep apnea:

In mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed.

  • Overweight persons can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients. However, losing weight can be difficult to do with untreated obstructive sleep apnea due to increased appetite and metabolism changes that can happen with obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea should avoid the use of alcohol and certain sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods.
  • In some patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using a wedge pillow or other devices that help them sleep in a side position may help.
  • People with sinus problems or nasal congestion should use nasal sprays or breathing strips to reduce snoring and improve airflow.

Mechanical therapy for sleep apnea:

 Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy is the preferred initial treatment for most people with obstructive sleep apnea. With PAP therapy, patients wear a mask over their nose and/or mouth. An air blower gently forces air through the nose and/or mouth. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to prevent the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep. PAP therapy prevents airway closure while in use, but apnea episodes return when PAP is stopped or if it is used improperly. There are several styles, and types of positive airway pressure devices depending on specific needs of patients. Styles and types include:

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the most widely used of the PAP devices. The machine is set at one single pressure.
  • Bi-Level PAP uses one pressure during inhalation (breathing in), and a lower pressure during exhalation (breathing out). There is a criterion that must be met before health insurance will cover the bi-level. This usually means that the CPAP machine must be tried first with no success and these results documented before insurance will pay for a bi-level.
  • Auto CPAP or Auto Bi-Level PAP uses a range of pressures that self-regulates during use depending on pressure requirements detected by the machine.
  • Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) is a type of non-invasive ventilation that is used for patients with central sleep apnea, which acts to keep the airway open and delivers a mandatory breath when needed.

Mandibular advancement devices: These are devices for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Dental appliances or oral mandibular advancement devices that help to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or advance the lower jaw forward can be made. These devices help keep the airway open during sleep. A sleep specialist and dentist (with expertise in oral appliances for this purpose) should jointly determine if this treatment is best for you.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulator: A stimulator is implanted under the skin on the right side of the chest with electrodes tunneled under the skin to the hypoglossal nerve in the neck and to intercostal muscles (between two ribs) in the chest. The device is turned on at bedtime with a remote control. With each breath, the hypoglossal nerve is stimulated, the tongue moves forward out of the airway and the airway is opened.

So if you’re concerned about sleep apnea, we’ll be happy to help.

If you want to know more schedule your appointment at +91-8576082888, 0522-4240647. 

Infinity Dental, A-1/54 A Vijay khand, opposite gate no.2 lohia park, Gomtinagar,Lucknow.

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Dr. Damini Agarwal

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