Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can be serious. In this disorder, your breathing stops many times throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. It can also increase your likelihood of having a heart attack or a stroke. Since this is a problem that happens while you are sleeping, you might be wondering how you would know if you have it. Read on to learn more.
Snoring or noisy breathing while sleeping
One of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. A roommate or a partner can notice when an individual is snoring. If the snoring is loud enough, others who live in the same household but do not share a room may also notice the snoring. This is caused when some of the individual’s tissue is obstructing the airway.
The tissue vibrates when the individual breathes, causing snoring or loud breathing. This can happen when either the tongue or the jaw relaxes too much during sleep. Sometimes, an individual has excess tissue in the throat, and this tissue can relax over the airway. When the airway is obstructed like this, the brain sends signals to the body to wake up. The individual may not remember waking up, but this does indeed happen many times throughout the night.
Not breathing for periods of time
Sometimes, the obstruction of the airway is so bad that an individual stops breathing for a time. This can last for as much as 10 seconds at a time. A partner or roommate who is awake during this time may notice that the snoring or breathing seems to stop and start. This is a sleep apnea episode and it can have serious health problems. Many health problems are caused by low oxygen levels in the blood.
Waking up often
Not everyone who has sleep apnea will remember waking up. However, some individuals will wake up gasping for air. Other individuals may have frequent dreams that they cannot breathe and wake up from these gasping. Many people who have sleep apnea also have to wake up to use the bathroom throughout the night.
Sleep apnea symptoms at a dentist’s office
Many people who have sleep apnea grind their teeth during the night. This can cause damage to the teeth such as worn teeth, cracked teeth or bite problems. A dentist can look for these symptoms during a dental visit. If the dentist suspects sleep apnea, then the dentist can recommend a sleep study for the patient. This can help the patient to have a diagnosis.
Visit a dentist today
A dentist can play an important role in finding your sleep apnea. The symptoms that a dentist looks for are ones that can be easily overlooked during your normal physical exam. A dentist can also help to treat sleep apnea with customized dental devices. It is important not to skip your normal dental exams.
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