If your partner snores, you probably know how difficult it is to get a good night’s sleep. It can feel extremely maddening to try to fall asleep (and stay asleep) while your partner snores next to you.
But snoring is more than just a nuisance to the person sharing your bed; it can actually be a sign of sleep apnea. The providers at Dental Art of South Bay explain more about the risks of sleep apnea and how you can get diagnosed.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. However, many people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it.
Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. People may not even know that they snore. But if they do, they may treat it as little more than a nuisance.
When you have the most common type of sleep apnea, called obstructive sleep apnea, your airway may close itself off during sleep. You stop breathing, sometimes multiple times an hour. When you start breathing again, you gasp and your throat vibrates, causing the distinctive snoring sound.
However, there’s another form of sleep apnea that’s less common, called central sleep apnea. In this form, your brain doesn’t send the signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
The symptoms of sleep apnea
In addition to snoring, you may have other signs that you have sleep apnea. Some of the symptoms that suggest you may have it include:
- Waking up feeling tired or unrefreshed
- Having a dry mouth when you wake up
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty in maintaining focus during the day
- Falling asleep spontaneously, especially during daytime
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should definitely have a test to see if you have sleep apnea.
How to test for sleep apnea
The most common way to test for sleep apnea is with a sleep study. This test requires you to either spend a night in a sleep lab or wear at-home monitors. This test tracks how many times you wake up during the night to determine if you have sleep apnea.
However, many people find the requirements of a sleep study to be too difficult to undergo. Most people can’t easily spend the night in a hospital sleep study room and many facilities don’t offer the option to wear at-home monitors.
There’s another option that is much easier, however: getting a CT scan at the dentist. It takes a lot less time than a sleep study and many people find that the cost is comparable, if not lower.
How to treat sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you will need treatment. The good news is that proper treatment usually makes you feel a lot better — and often pretty quickly, too.
You can either get a machine to help you breathe, called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or an oral device to keep your airways open. If you have sleep apnea, we’ll refer you for treatment.
Complying with treatment is important for your health. Untreated sleep apnea carries the following risks:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems
- Heart problems, including heart attack and stroke
If you have any signs that suggest you might have sleep apnea, we suggest you get it checked out and seek a diagnosis. A CT scan at the dentist is a simple way to get diagnosed. Call the providers at Dental Art of South Bay today.