Sleep apnea is a condition in which people stop breathing for short periods of time while asleep. Sleep apnea is most commonly seen in people who are overweight. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat collapse and block the airway, causing the person to wake up and gasp for air. With sleep apnea, the brain partially awakens the person so they can breathe. As a result, the person often has a fragmented sleep. This can make the person tired and irritable during the day, as well as affect their ability to focus and concentrate. Here are some of its symptoms:
The most well-known symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. However, there are many signs and symptoms that can impact the quality of your sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious conditions or complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart issues.
If you have sleep apnea, you might feel excessively tired during the day and find yourself falling asleep at inappropriate times. You may also notice that you snore loudly or gasp for air while sleeping. If your partner notices that you stop breathing during the night or that you are gasping for breath, they might think that you are choking in your sleep. This can lead to anxiety about going to sleep and more daytime sleepiness.
If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness that is getting in the way of taking care of yourself and enjoying your life, then you should see your dentist about getting tested for sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can cause you to fall into deep sleep at any time of the day, which can be dangerous to your health.
Patients with sleep apnea often suffer from headaches in the morning, and they often occur after waking up. The headaches can be associated with other symptoms of sleep apnea, including fatigue or irritability. These morning headaches can also be caused by other conditions, such as temporomandibular joint disorder, which means you should visit a dentist if you experience them to rule out another condition.
During the day, you may not feel the effects of your sleep apnea symptoms as much because you are not laying flat on your back with your mouth open as you sleep at night. However, when you wake up, the carbon dioxide levels in your bloodstream will spike as your body tries to process the air you breathed in while you were sleeping. This increase in carbon dioxide can cause headaches, as well as other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as sleepiness during the day.
Some people with untreated sleep apnea also suffer from heart disease, which can increase their risk of cardiovascular complications following their procedure. We screen for signs of cardiovascular disease, so your doctor may order additional tests to check for the presence of these issues.
For example, some patients with obstructive sleep apnea have high blood pressure or lower-than-average levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating a healthier diet in addition to CPAP therapy to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels within a healthy range. These steps can improve your overall health and help you to avoid possible complications from heart issues.
For more information about sleep apnea treatment, schedule a consultation with one of our dentist in Palo Alto, CA. Call our office at (650) 328-1223 or visit us at 1795 El Camino Real #100, Palo Alto, CA 94306, or use the online booking tool on this website to request an appointment.