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Sleep apnea

Is snoring or sleep apnea ruining your life or the life of someone you know? Future of Dentistry in Wakefield, MA, can do something about it!

Recent research has led to the development of a simple and safe anti-snoring device that reduces or even eliminates snoring. The device is similar to a mouthpiece that positions the lower jaw forward as you sleep. The tongue, being attached to the lower jaw, is simultaneously pulled forward, which makes it less likely to fall back into the throat, block the airways and cause snoring.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Many people are unaware that they have sleep apnea and, as a result, the condition goes untreated. That has a detrimental effect on quality of life. When snoring is so loud that it disturbs the sleep of the snorers and their family members, it may be a sign of a related condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is a breathing disorder that can, in some cases, lead to life-threatening incidents such as heart irregularities and stroke. People with OSA actually stop breathing at night because of airway blockage caused by a relaxed tongue. When breathing stops, carbon dioxide builds up in the blood stream. This alerts the brain and the eerie silence is followed by a gasping, snorting sound. Each episode lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed. The episodes occur repeatedly during sleep.

A typical apnea sufferer will stop breathing 30 times per hour for 30 seconds each time. That’s 15 minutes an hour of not breathing. Can you imagine the consequences of failing to get vital oxygen to your body’s cells? They slowly starve for oxygen, increasing the likelihood of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or sleep study.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea

It is important to know some of the major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

  • Loud or chronic snoring
  • Choking, snorting or gasping for breath during sleep
  • Long pauses in your breathing
  • Daytime sleepiness, no matter how much time you spend in bed
  • High blood pressure
  • Forgetfulness and not being able to concentrate
  • Moodiness, irritability, depression, changes in temperament

Who is at risk?

Anyone can have sleep apnea, no matter their age or gender. Even children can have sleep apnea, which is commonly caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. However, some people are more at risk than others. You may have a higher risk of sleep apnea if you are:

  • Overweight
  • Male
  • Related to someone with sleep apnea
  • Over age 65
  • African American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander
  • A smoker

Other risk factors include having a thick neck, deviated septum, receding chin, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Allergies have been known to contribute to sleep apnea.

If you feel you might have sleep apnea, the first thing to do is undergo a sleep study done and get a diagnosis from a certified sleep doctor.

If you need help in taking the next step toward a restful night sleep, call Future of Dentistry. You will be glad you did. We use the latest technology to improve your night’s sleep and your overall wellness.