- March 21, 2016
When it comes to getting some sound shut-eye, you keep coming up short.
It’s the snoring. Whether it’s you or a loved one, that nocturnal sawing is keeping everyone from getting their full eight hours of rest every night. Needless to say, it is starting to take its toll – not just on your body, but on your relationship.
Although the stereotype of a couple squabbling over accusations of snoring is a humorous one, it is no laughing matter if the cause of that snoring can actually wind up killing you.
I’m not kidding. Because if the cause of your snoring or your partner’s snoring is a condition known as sleep apnea, then it is certainly no joke, because certain forms of that disorder can cause brain damage and even death by asphyxiation.
Make no mistake: There is a big difference between your average, run-of-the-mill snoring and the kind of chronic, life-threatening airway obstruction caused by acute sleep apnea. Unfortunately, knowing the difference can be hard unless you’re professionally trained to identify the symptoms of sleep apnea, which include:
- Especially loud snoring
- Bad headaches, especially in the mornings
- Waking up in the night with a shortness of breath
- Easily irritated
- Breathing difficulties in your sleep witnessed by another person
If any of these sound familiar to you, whether they describe your own sleep or the troubled sleep of a loved one, then it is very likely that a case of sleep apnea is at play here.
And if that’s the case, then you need to come and see your Birmingham dentist before the symptoms become deadly: Studies have shown that there are links between sleep apnea are serious health risks like heart attack, stroke, and even diabetes.
Just What Is Sleep Apnea, Anyway?
It is important to understand any harmful condition before you can hope to treat it, otherwise it is like flying an airplane with a blindfold. Not a good idea.
Sleep apnea is characteristically defined by interruptions in normal breathing during sleep. Usually, this means shortened breaths or outright cessation of breathing – in other words, if you or your partner snore to the point where breathing stops and the snoring sounds almost like choking, then sleep apnea is most likely the cause.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, sleep apnea is basically any type of chronic obstruction (usually the soft tissues in the back of the throat and nasal cavity) which obstructs your airways. As I have already mentioned, advanced formed of this condition can dramatically cut off the supply of oxygen to your brain, increasing the likelihood of brain damage or brain death during the night.
The only way to be for certain is to come and see me so I can get you started on a professional sleep test which will determine if sleep apnea is the culprit, and if so, the extent of the disorder.
Once that is taken care of, then you have a number of effective treatment options that can save you Zs and, potentially, save your life!
Sleeping Easy Once Again
I can offer a few different treatment solutions, each of which will help you to sleep again with safety.
In many cases, I can craft a simple mouthguard which will offset the resting state of your jaw in such a way that will cause the blockage to open up, allowing air to enter your lungs without interruption.
In other cases, I can recommend a machine known as a CPAP, which connects to your face similar to a gas mask, and works by creating continuous positive airway pressure (hence, CPAP) that prevents the blockage from occurring. It is a pretty extreme solution in terms of getting used to the mask and the noise that the machine creates, but it certainly beats the alternative!
Lastly, in the most extreme cases, I can refer you to a specialist who may need to perform surgery in order to address the blockage and clear your airways. It doesn’t often have to come to this, but when you’re facing the prospect of suffocating in your sleep, a little surgery is a small price to pay to save your life!
Get Your Sleep Study Started Today
If you or a loved one has been suffering from sleep apnea, then you may not have any extra time to waste in order to get effective, customized treatment.
To begin the process, please call me at 248-972-8720, or click here to request an appointment with me online.