More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, a condition that impairs your ability to breathe while you sleep. Many people who have sleep apnea might not even know it, but getting a proper diagnosis is important. If left untreated, sleep apnea can bring fatigue, affect your memory, and put you at risk for a number of chronic health conditions.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea in which your throat muscles relax and can block your airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the right signals to your body to keep you breathing regularly. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of the other two types of sleep apnea.
Richard Hardt, DDS and Lawryn Monterroso, DDS can help diagnose the cause of your sleep apnea and work with you to find treatment. Whether you snore, always wake up feeling fatigued, or have other symptoms, we can help you get better sleep with sleep apnea treatment.
Untreated sleep apnea leads to more health problems.
Snoring and daytime fatigue are common warning signs of sleep apnea. Sometimes, patients become aware that they may have sleep apnea when another person lets them know that they stop breathing for periods of time while they sleep. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
Some factors and lifestyle choices can put you at increased risk for having sleep apnea. People who are overweight, smoke, or drink alcohol are more likely to have sleep apnea. Neck circumference, nasal congestion, and genetics can also play a role in a person’s likelihood of having sleep apnea. The most common demographic that suffers from the condition are males over 40 years of age.
Even if you don’t experience day-to-day disruptions from sleep apnea, the condition is still dangerous to ignore. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a variety of other health concerns, including:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Chronic daytime fatigue
Sleep plays an important, restorative role in your body’s function. When sleep is interrupted or you get poor-quality sleep, your overall health can suffer.
Finding relief from sleep apnea at Richard Hardt, DDS
Sleep apnea can often be improved with lifestyle changes or using an oral appliance. Treating sleep apnea means making sure that your breathing passages are no longer blocked during sleep. With sleep apnea treatment, you may stop snoring, stop waking up repeatedly during the night, and feel more rested in the morning.
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, can help treat sleep apnea. Dr. Hardt and Dr. Monterroso often prescribe oral appliances to patients with sleep apnea to help keep their breathing passages clear and stop snoring. Depending on your condition, the team may recommend a sleep study to assess and diagnose your sleep apnea.
For more serious cases of sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) worn at night helps keep oxygen flowing. Wearing a CPAP mask at night helps your airway remain open and keep you breathing throughout the night.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, don’t ignore your symptoms. Schedule an appointment with the team at Richard Hardt, DDS. We can help alleviate snoring and treat sleep apnea by recommending lifestyle changes or fitting you with an oral appliance. For more serious cases of sleep apnea, we can even refer you for an in-home sleep study. Call our Porterville, California office to make your first appointment today.