questions about sleep apnea

questions about sleep apneaQuestions about Sleep Apnea

Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN

Do you snore loudly? Do you wake up tired on a regular basis, no matter what time you go to bed or how many hours of sleep you get? If so, then you could suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep breathing disorder, a category of ailments where breathing becomes impeded or completely obstructed during sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when there is a collapse of soft tissue in your throat, which blocks your airway. These blockages can be partial or complete, totally cutting off your air supply. A patient with sleep apnea experiences brief interruptions in breathing, which might occur up to hundreds of times a night for an individual with an advanced case of the disorder. Each time one of these interruptions happens, your brain jolts you from sleep so that your breathing may resume. However, this disrupts the sleep cycle and deprives you of the restorative deep, restful sleep for both mind and body.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Loud snoring, as mentioned earlier, is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Other symptoms during sleep include:

  • Noticeable pauses in breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air while asleep
  • Restless sleep, or frequent tossing and turning

A patient with sleep apnea also may exhibit some of the following symptoms and behaviors:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating at work or school
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Weight gain
  • Memory problems

I have sleep apnea, but it is not bothering me. Is treatment necessary?

Absolutely. If a case of sleep apnea goes untreated, it can increase your risk of several chronic, life-threatening ailments, including:

  • High blood pressure or stroke
  • Cardiac disease
  • Frequent headaches
  • Obesity
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive decline

Sleep apnea will not go away on its own. It will only get worse. The only way to resolve the disorder is through diagnosis and treatment by a medical professional, such as the sleep apnea dentists on staff at Choto Family Dentistry.

What causes sleep apnea?

A variety of issues could cause the collapse of soft tissue in the airway suffered by sleep apnea patients.

Some of the most common are:

  • Being overweight
  • Deviated septum
  • Having a large tongue and/or tonsils or soft tissue of the airway
  • A restricted airway, due to the shape of your head and neck

Am I at risk for sleep apnea?

Anyone can develop a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. However, men are more likely to develop the disorder than women. Keep in mind, however, that obstructive sleep apnea can plague anyone including children and even athletes. Other factors can increase your risks such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and loud snoring. Past medical research even has suggested a potential hereditary factor in sleep apnea. Currently, about 15 million Americans suffer from this disorder.

How is a case of sleep apnea diagnosed?

A sleep apnea dentist in Knoxville can determine whether or not a person suffers from sleep apnea. This diagnosis can be achieved either through a sleep study or by performing an airway evaluation.

How is sleep apnea treated?

A sleep apnea dentist treats the disorder by addressing the cause—the obstruction of the airway. Our sleep apnea dentists prefer to treat sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy. These appliances re-align the mandibular, pushing the lower jaw into its ideal forward resting position, helping maintain an open airway throughout the night.

We customize each of our oral appliances, giving each of our sleep apnea patients a snug, comfortable fit. Sleep apnea patients who receive oral appliance therapy report a higher satisfaction rate than those who use a CPAP machine.

If sleep apnea affects you or someone you love, or you notice any combination of the symptoms listed above, let the sleep apnea dentists at Choto Family Dentistry help. Call our office at (865) 409-5077 to schedule a consultation.

Choto Family Dentistry is here to serve the needs of patients in Knoxville, Tennessee, and communities of Choto and Northshore.