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Sleep Apnea

Excessive Drowsiness and Waking during the Night May Indicate Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that affects thousands of individuals, spouses, and families. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can cause interruption in your breathing throughout the night. Interruptions in your breathing during the night can range from five seconds to over a minute in length. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse, limiting breathing. 

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that can have immediate and long-term health ramifications. Fortunately, Green Gregson Family Dentistry in Metairie, LA, can diagnose and treat sleep apnea. If necessary, our dentists can coordinate with your primary care physician or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist in order to provide relief. 

Symptoms and Signs

If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today. You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Shortness of breath upon awakening
  • Cessation of breathing witnessed by another person
  • Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
  • Waking up choking or gasping for air
  • Problems paying attention
  • Insomnia, hypersomnia, and daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches, irritability, and gastric reflux
  • Anxiety, depression, and memory loss
  • High blood pressure

Types of Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is significantly less common and far more complex. It occurs when the brain does not properly regulate breathing during sleep, and requires the attention of a sleep specialist.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when muscles relax in the back of the throat during sleep. Your airway can become blocked frequently throughout the night. As a result, snoring and awakenings will increase. 

Consequently, obstructing breathing and frequently causing the body to stir in order to breathe normally again. The body has a natural reflex to wake up and restore breathing, and these awakenings are so brief that they are typically not remembered. However, they are frequent enough to make one feel tired in spite of what was perceived to be a full night’s sleep.

Overview of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dangerous Affects of Sleep Apnea

Video Transcript

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. It occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the upper airway during sleep. Some symptoms of Sleep Apnea are snoring, daytime sleepiness, headaches, irritability, anxiety, depression, memory loss, gastric reflux, and high blood pressure.

Patients with sleep apnea can stop breathing up to hundreds of times per evening, for time periods ranging from 5 seconds to over a minute in length. While breathing is stopped, and oxygen is restricted to the heart and brain, the increased heart rate and stimulation causes the body to momentarily wake. This disruption in sleep pattern is what causes excessive daytime drowsiness and exhaustion in patients.

If left untreated, the constant strain placed on the heart and brain, coupled with poor sleep quality and duration can result in serious and dangerous complications to your overall health, including heart disease, stroke, mood disorders, and accidents related to daytime drowsiness.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Some Sleep Apnea symptoms may appear minor and manageable, but if symptoms occur frequently and remain untreated, they can significantly affect your overall health. Failure to sleep restfully can quickly weaken your body’s normal functions. Patients with untreated sleep apnea have an increased chance of experiencing serious heart problems later in life. Sleep Apnea dentist, Jeffrey Gregson, DDS can treat your Sleep Apnea at their Metairie office.

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