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The Ten Most Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a physical disorder that affects more than 22 million Americans, and they may be unaware that they have the condition, but it can lead to severe health issues if not treated. By learning the signs and symptoms, you can determine if you need to seek a diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea.

How Many Types of Sleep Apnea Are There?

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  1. OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea, is the most common type, and it occurs when your throat muscles are too relaxed. Overly relaxed throat muscles cause a blockage in your airways, which overworks your chest muscles because they have to force air into your lungs. Although the pauses are typically ten seconds or less, they can occur as many as 30 times in an hour. OSA affects men more frequently than women.
  2. CSA, or central sleep apnea, occurs when there’s a lack of oxygen to the brain. Usually, it’s the result of trauma to the lower brain stem, although it can occur as the result of a disease such as Parkinson’s.
  3. Complex sleep apnea, also called mixed sleep apnea, has the symptoms of both CSA and OSA. It often begins with a physical obstruction, but many times, it remains after the obstruction has been removed.

Does Sleep Apnea Have Common Signs and Symptoms?

The following are ten common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. It’s important to pay attention to these issues, as you may not notice you have sleep apnea unless someone tells you or you keep experiencing a variety of the problems listed below. Your sleep problems may be more deeply rooted than just a simple problem, so it’s best to consult your dentist if you experience the following signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

  1. Dry mouth or a sore throat each morning: Many of those who have sleep apnea sleep with their mouths open because it facilitates their oxygen intake. However, this causes them to wake up with a dry mouth and a sore or raspy throat.
  2. Decreased libido: Sleep apnea changes the chemical composition of your body and often causes lower testosterone levels, which can result in a decreased desire for sex.
  3. Daytime exhaustion: Since sleep apnea deprives you of the REM sleep that your body needs, you may feel exhausted during the day even though you think you had enough sleep. You may not remember waking up throughout the night, but your body will be adversely affected by sleep deprivation, and you may have mental fog and feel sleepy throughout the day.
  4. Gasping or choking: If you wake up because you’re gasping or choking, it may be due to sleep apnea. It’s a common symptom and occurs because your brain senses that it’s being deprived of oxygen.
  5. High blood pressure: The chemical imbalance caused by sleep apnea can elevate the blood pressure. Hypertension can be further exacerbated by lowered oxygen levels in the blood, which is a direct result of breathing interruptions.
  6. Intermittent breathing: If you periodically pause for several seconds between breaths when you’re sleeping, you may have sleep apnea.
  7. Lack of mental acuity: Mental fuzziness occurs because of a lack of sleep, and it’s a common side effect of sleep apnea.
  8. Mood swings: Research indicates that sleep apnea changes your brain structure, which may be attributed to a chemical imbalance. It can result in moodiness and irritability among those who suffer from sleep apnea.
  9. Morning headaches: Morning headaches can be the result of low oxygen levels as well as a lack of sleep. Morning headaches are a classic sign of sleep apnea.
  10. Snoring: Snoring is annoying to everyone, and it’s prevalent among those who have sleep apnea. Sometimes, snoring occurs when there’s not enough room in the airway for the body to breathe adequately.

Who’s At Risk for Developing Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, but it’s more common in men than women. Other factors that can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity or Excessive weight
  • Smoking
  • Medical conditions such as asthma, adenoids, and naturally narrow airways

What Will Happen If I Don’t Treat My Sleep Apnea?

If you think you have sleep apnea, then you should contact your local dentist for an appointment. Treatment is simple and non-invasive, but sleep apnea shouldn’t remain untreated. When not addressed, sleep apnea can contribute to severely elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, and it can exacerbate diseases such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.

Do Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea or Is It a Medical Condition?

Your local dentist has been trained in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, so if you think you have the disease, then call for an appointment. A sleep apnea diagnosis involves a sleep study that you can do at home or in a clinic.

Based on the results of your sleep study, your dentist will recommend a treatment that’s suitable for you. The two most common options are a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or a CPAP machine, that uses a face mask to ensure that you receive a continuous supply of oxygen during the night.

Oral appliance therapy, or OAT therapy, is the other type of treatment for sleep apnea, and it’s the most common because the equipment is smaller. The OAT therapy mask is similar to a mouthguard and uses a machine to help keep your airway open. Your dentist will recommend the best type of appliance for your lifestyle and your unique needs.

Where Can I Receive Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

If you think you have sleep apnea and need a diagnosis, then call Garden State Dental at for an appointment. You’ll receive a comprehensive exam, and we’ll determine if you have sleep apnea or if there’s another issue that’s causing your problems. If you have sleep apnea, then you need to be diagnosed and treated. Don’t put it off, call us today. You’ll be glad you made the call.

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