Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
Does your partner complain about your snoring on a regular basis? Do your family members express concern that you’re gasping for air while you sleep? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, you could be suffering from a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Also known as OSA, obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes snoring and can lead people to stop breathing throughout the night.
Throat muscles often slack while you’re asleep, but if you have obstructive sleep apnea, your jaw and throat become too relaxed, leading to a collapse of soft tissue that blocks the airway. Estimated to affect 22 million Americans, many people suffer from this condition and don’t even know it, or they are aware of their condition yet do not seek treatment. It’s often that OSA sufferers find out from their loved ones that they snore while sleeping. Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a Royal Oak dentist that screens for sleep apnea, hopes that you’ll look out for these eight warning signs that you or someone you love may have obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring is the most common symptom noticed when people suffer from sleep apnea. However, intermittent snoring, such as during allergy season or when battling a cold, may not be a concern. On the other hand, snoring associated with sleep apnea is different. It sounds very loud, occurs almost continuously, and is heard by anyone who sleeps in the same room with the sleep apnea sufferer.
Suffering from obstructive sleep apnea can be tricky to diagnose. But if you notice that you’re often waking up with a dry mouth and sore throat, you may have OSA. This is because people who often snore, breathe through their mouths, which inevitably dries it out and causes throat irritation.
If you’re experiencing headaches regularly, especially upon waking first thing in the morning, then this can be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by sleep apnea, and from not sleeping enough. Lowered oxygen levels cause widened blood vessels, which create vascular headaches. Your general physician can identify if you have this type of headache, which may indicate you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
As you do your normal daily tasks, you may notice that they’re becoming increasingly difficult. You may have trouble concentrating on the basics. Perhaps you’ve become more forgetful as of late. These are all signs of sleep deprivation, which can be caused by sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, each time you experience a blockage of your airway, your brain disrupts the sleep cycle to resume breathing. For someone with severe sleep apnea, these sleep interruptions may happen hundreds of times per hour—even if you never consciously wake up.
Stress can have us clenching our jaws, but jaw clenching sometimes is a sign of anxiety. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding—also known as bruxism—can be extremely destructive for your teeth. They cause enamel to weaken, leading to cracked teeth or damaged teeth. Hartrick Dentistry knows anxiety can cause teeth clenching and jaw grinding, but there is also a direct link between sleep apnea and bruxism. Both sleep apnea and bruxism can be influenced by some of the same health and lifestyle factors: misaligned bite, smoking, and being overweight.
When you sleep less or get inadequate sleep, sleep deprivation may cause you to drink many caffeinated beverages throughout the day to keep yourself going. Partaking in moderate coffee consumption is fine, but drinking too many sodas, coffees, and other sugary drinks can lead to heightened levels of anxiety, while also raising your risk of tooth decay.
Many people struggle to lose weight, but with sleep apnea, it can become even more difficult. A healthy diet and regular exercise should produce positive results, but with sleep apnea, you’re not getting the sleep you need to keep your body functioning at its best. This can affect your metabolism and your ability to burn fat.
Chronic Health Issues
Certain medical conditions can be caused by sleep apnea if it is untreated. Your OSA can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, acid reflux, gum disease, tooth loss… and even make you more vulnerable to certain types of cancer.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Royal Oak
Dr. Nancy Hartrick of Hartrick Dentistry wants to help you and your loved ones with customized treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea. Only a sleep specialist can diagnose OSA, but your dentist can provide customizable devices to keep your jaw stable and airway open while you sleep. Dr. Nancy Hartrick has 28 years’ worth of experience in treating her patient’s needs and customizing oral care plans that have helped people just like you. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation today that could change your life for the better. If you live in the Royal Oaks or Birmingham, MI area, call today at (248) 549-0950 to schedule your consultation with Hartrick Dentistry.