Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing while asleep, which can cause you to gasp for air, snore, choke, or cough. This form of sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, and sadly, they don’t even realize that they have it! Since the health effects of untreated sleep apnea can be dire – increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even certain types of cancer, it is vital to get an evaluation by a sleep apnea dentist in Knoxville so that you can begin treatment, which by the way, doesn’t have to be a CPAP!
Here are five warning signs that you might have obstructive sleep apnea, and what you can do about it:
- You’re a loud snorer
Chances are that if you snore, you probably don’t even know it unless someone tells you. Even with that, you may not even think it is a big deal because it happens while you’re sleeping. Most people who snore figure their snoring doesn’t bother them, although it can interrupt their partner’s sleep, so what’s the big deal? However, if you are a loud snorer, it probably indicates that soft tissue in your throat or airway is blocking the flow of air. While this may seem like it is no big deal – it is! You wouldn’t live life starving your body of food or water, so why would you live life starving your body of oxygen?
- Your throat is dry and sore when you wake up most mornings
It is natural to feel thirsty when you wake up in the morning. After all, you just went hours without anything to drink. But, if you find that you wake up consistently with a dry or sore throat, and there doesn’t seem to be another reason for it like medication side effects or a cold, then you could have obstructive sleep apnea, which is causing you to mouth breathe or snore while you sleep.
- You’re always tired
Does it seem like you always feel tired no matter how early you go to bed or how many hours of sleep you get each night? If you are diligent about sticking to a strict bedtime, yet still wake up feeling tired all day, it may actually be sleep apnea that is to blame. While stress, late nights, aging, and hormone fluctuations, among others, can cause you to feel restless at night leaving you tired the next day, sleep apnea could be your problem. When the body doesn’t get enough air, the brain signals to the body to wake up enough to resume breathing. Now, you may not even realize that your body and mind are doing this, but because it interrupts the brain during the deepest stage of sleep, the REM sleep cycle, you aren’t getting the rest that you need, leaving you tired all of the time.
- You’re forgetful
Forgetfulness – we all tend to forget things from time to time. Who could blame us with hectic schedules, a demanding work life, and a family and household to care for? We often chalk it up to getting older, but if you find that you are unusually forgetful, talk to your Knoxville sleep apnea dentists and request a sleep study to screen for a sleep-breathing disorder. Studies have linked untreated obstructive sleep apnea to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s nothing to mess around with if you continue forgetting things all of the time.
- You fall asleep at work or while driving
Do you ever find yourself nodding off at work (don’t worry, we will plead the fifth if your boss asks us anything!), or worse yet, fall asleep while driving? Falling asleep while doing either certainly would not go unnoticed or without consequences. Fall asleep at work, and you could wake up without a job, or doze off while driving and you may wake up in the hospital with severe or life-threatening injuries. Either way you slice it, nodding off during the day is not OK. If you find that you are, then it is a sure sign that you need to get a sleep study conducted ASAP.
Sleep Apnea Evaluation in Knoxville
To learn more about sleep apnea, how we diagnose it or treatments that we offer, please contact Choto Family Dentistry today by calling (865) 269-6688. Often we can treat mild cases of sleep apnea by prescribing a custom-made oral appliance to wear that is comfortable yet effective. Contact our office to learn how we treat sleep apnea without using a CPAP! We welcome patients of Knoxville and the communities of Choto and Northshore.