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Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

It’s easy to skimp a good night's sleep, especially in the hustle and bustle of modern life. Most people feel more tired than ever and get fewer and fewer ZZZs on a daily basis. However, evidence shows that adults need 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Otherwise, they can put their health at risk and even shorten their lives.

Unfortunately, most adults in the United States aren't getting the sleep that they need for a variety of reasons. A common cause involves obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, estimates show that 2-9% of US adults live with some form of sleep apnea. And, when ignored, sleep apnea can worsen or become worsened by other chronic conditions, especially diabetes and hypertension. 

Now, for the good news: Getting treatment from your dentist and making conscious self-care choices can help. 

At Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio, our compassionate and experienced team is committed to getting you the rest that your body needs. We provide solutions that can help manage your sleep apnea and its symptoms while increasing your quality of life and longevity. 

Recognizing the signs of sleep apnea

Without enough quality sleep, most of us feel irritable, tired, and unable to focus. However, sleep apnea can cause additional symptoms.

Loud, disrupted snoring

Snoring occurs when soft tissues relax and partially block your airway, which makes your breathing rattle the tissue as it passes. It's true that most people snore at some point for a variety of reasons, including congestion, drinking, and injury. But, unlike "normal" snoring, people with sleep apnea often stop snoring periodically because they stop breathing. These episodes or apneas can last for seconds to over a minute at a time, and cause the oxygen levels in your blood to drop.

Grogginess and poor concentration

Without proper rest, you can’t think clearly. Over time, this can lead to problems with your concentration, along with your ability to stay engaged with tasks and conversations. 

Frequent and long-term disrupted sleep also impacts your memory, causing you to become more forgetful. Plus, when your blood isn’t fully oxygenated, you can feel fatigued, in addition to dealing with memory and recall issues. 

Waking in the night

Another strong sign of sleep apnea involves waking in the middle of your sleep cycle. This symptom is easy to spot because you may wake up more frequently to go to the bathroom or automatically when you can’t breathe. 

Understanding your risks for sleep apnea

Several things increase your chances of developing sleep apnea, such as: 

Your chances of having sleep apnea also increase if you have a wide neck circumference. This can increase pressure on your air passages and stop air from flowing to your lungs.   

Sleep apnea affects men at higher rates than women. It’s also more likely for Native American, Black, and Asian Americans to have sleep problems, like apnea, than White Americans. 

Finding solutions for sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, our providers can help, especially if you can’t tolerate the medical device known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

At our practice, we treat obstructive sleep apnea with custom-fitted oral appliances worn like an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard. This effective dental solution helps with sleep apnea by gently moving your lower jaw into a downward and forward position, which helps keep your airway more open.

The bottom line is that sleep apnea is indeed dangerous. So, the sooner you seek treatment, the better. Call us at 330-331-9026 or request an appointment online today. 

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