Have you been told that you snore at night? Are you getting shaken awake by a concerned and slightly annoyed partner being told that your sawing wood is keeping them awake? If you’re waking up in the morning feeling tired and poorly rested, your throat hurts, you often feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day, or are waking up feeling like you’re choking, then there’s a good chance that you suffer from a fairly common sleep disorder called aleep apnea.
While sleep apnea seems more like an annoyance, the reality is that if left untreated, it can cause severe medical complications and even death. Dr. Diers offers several options for his patients who have sleep apnea, giving them relief from their symptoms.
What Can I Do About My Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans and occurs when your airway closes at night, causing you to suffocate and stop breathing for several seconds. When this happens, people with this condition tend to wake up choking. Often, sufferers of sleep apnea don’t even realize that they have it and may wake up several times per hour every single night due to their suffocation.
The causes of sleep apnea can vary, but genetics and health to play a large role. A narrow airway is a common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and it can be exacerbated by obesity. Men are more likely than women to have it, and older individuals also suffer from it more often than younger people. That doesn’t mean that women and children are immune to it, however. Anyone can have sleep apnea. If you grind your teeth at night, this is typically an indication of a compromised airway that could benefit from Dental Sleep Therapy or Orthodontics with Dr. Diers. Smoking, upper respiratory infections, chronic congestion, and large tonsils are also associated with sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of health problems including High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Heart Failure, Diabetes, Depression, worsening of ADHD and Headaches.
If you have sleep apnea, you have many choices on how you can treat it. Some people choose to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help their breathing, but because it can be loud and covers the nose and mouth, compliance is low. For people who are struggling to breathe at night, oral appliances can help.
For instance, a Mandibular Repositioning Device can help open your airway as you sleep and is the most commonly advised device for sleep apnea. It works by guiding your lower jaw forward to help open the airway. This can effectively prevent the airway from closing at night, alleviating your snoring. A Functional Regulator is another option that can be used to gently guide your lower jaw into a more forward position. This appliance also works to encourage you tongue to come up and forward, out of the throat.
These devices are great for people of all ages who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you have a more severe form of this condition, you may be a candidate for surgery to help eliminate your symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about sleep apnea and want to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consultation about this dangerous condition, or if you’re simply tired of sleeping on the couch due to your loud snoring, please give Dr. Diers a call today at (513) 829-4400
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