Are You Sleeping with A Killer?

sleep apneaWhen people sleep in the same room, there’s always a chance that someone will not get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s because one of the individuals steals the blankets, or the other one is a loud snorer, co-sleeping can sometimes be less than ideal. However, with all of the possible causes of a restless night, only one can actually kill you. At our dental office in Austin, we want to create awareness for one of the scariest disorders that can haunt our sleep: Sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a term used to describe what happens when an individual stops breathing, sometimes several times, during the night. Often confused with simple snoring, sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that can lead to some pretty scary health problems. Unfortunately, it is often times not sufferers who realize they have this disorder, it’s the person they share a room or bed with.

Sleep apnea has been linked to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Car accidents caused by drowsy driving
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • And much more

While sleep apnea has a strong correlation with obesity, even some fit individuals can experience it. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for an adequate supply of air to get through. This often causes the sleeper to awake suddenly, gasping or choking for air. What’s even scarier is that this can happen several times a night and can cause people to stop breathing completely, sometimes for a few minutes at a time.

Some other common symptoms of sleep apnea besides snoring can include excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day, feeling as if you never get enough sleep, waking up choking or gasping for breath, and chronic fatigue. All of these symptoms don’t need to be present to indicate sleep apnea and only a sleep study can officially diagnose the disorder.

Once your disorder is diagnosed, there are a few treatment options available. From a CPAP, which is a mask that’s worn during sleep and forces air into the nose or mouth, to a mouthpiece worn at bedtime to keep the airway open, at our Austin dental office, we urge anyone who has any symptoms of sleep apnea to undergo evaluation and follow the treatment that’s right for them. Don’t settle for sleeping with a killer; get checked and start treatment as soon as you can.

Serving patients in Austin, Westlake and Cedar Park.

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