Sleep Apnea Spokane, WA
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the patient briefly stops breathing while they sleep, thus the term apnea, which means halted breath. For some patients, it may present itself as simply shallower, while in other cases, it is completely shut off. Whether the patient is aware of this disorder or not, sleep apnea is a disturbance to much needed rest, it can occur once or a hundred times per night and vary in the length of time that the patient is not breathing. Our dentists, Dr. Leale and Dr. Startin, at NorthView Family Dental can help.
IS SLEEP APNEA A PROBLEM?Sleep Apnea can be a serious problem. When you experience brief periods of not breathing, your brain and other vital parts of your body are deprived of the necessary oxygen. Additionally, though you may think that you are getting the full night’s rest, you really are not because you are continuously disturbed from your sleep, and therefore sleep deprived and unsure why.
TYPES OF SLEEP APNEAThere are two main categories when discussing sleep apnea. The first is known as Central Sleep Apnea. This is the less common of the two forms. It occurs when the signals from your brain do not reach the muscles that are in charge of your breathing. The second and much more common form is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This occurs when there is an obstruction, usually of the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep, in your airway that causes you to stop breathing. This causes your chest muscles to have to work harder to push air from your lungs through your airway.
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA THAT YOUR PARTNER MAY NOTICESleep Apnea is commonly caught by a partner before you may notice the signs. Most people are not conscious of the disruption of sleep apnea. These symptoms could include:
|•||Loud snoring, it may even be keeping your partner up at night|
|•||Sudden quietness that is then followed by choking or gasping sounds|
|•||Disruptive tossing and turning in your sleep|
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEAThere are some clues that you can spot that may indicate that you are suffering from sleep apnea. Typically these symptoms present themselves during the day, after a long night of many sleep apnea episodes and include:
|•||Not feeling rested even after a full night sleep|
|•||Problems with headaches|
|•||Problems with focusing|
|•||Experiencing unusual memory loss|
|•||Experiencing bouts of depression|
|•||Having unusually high blood pressure problems|
WHO IS AT RISK FOR SLEEP APNEA?There is a large variety of risk factors for sleep apnea. The most common reason is those who have a larger neck, measuring greater than 17 inches. This may be due to being overweight or just body type. When you have a larger neck, the fat deposits in this area could cause the airway to narrow, making it difficult to breathe while at rest. Some of our patients naturally suffer from a narrow airway or have large tonsils that get in the way of breathing at night. If you have a family history, are over the age of 60 or are a woman that has gone through menopause, you are also at risk. Certain lifestyles also increase the risk of sleep apnea including smoking and drinking.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep Apnea eventually takes its toll on your cardiovascular system. As your breathing slows, your cardiovascular system has to work harder, increasing your blood pressure and putting a strain on your heart, putting you at risk for a heart condition, including congestive heart failure, stroke and heart attack.
Constant sleepiness or fatigue can be a continuous problem for a patient with sleep apnea. Patients can get so frustrated that they are sleeping for extended periods of time, yet, not getting the rest that they need. This could put you in danger if you get behind the wheel, make it impossible to focus and cause irritability. This could cause problems on the road, at work and even with your family life.
WE CAN HELP!
At NorthView Family Dental, we can help. Dr. Leale and Dr. Startin are able to create a customized mouthguard that can help you keep your airway open, and breathe better all night. No surgery, no pain. If you suspect that you are at risk for sleep apnea, it is important to seek medical attention from your general physician. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Leale can help you find the oral appliance that will alleviate your symptoms and decrease your risk of sleep apnea.
For more information on Sleep Apnea, contact Robert Leale, DDS, or Brett Startin, DDS, at our Spokane, WA 99208 office. (509) 590-1763