Could You Have a Sleep Disorder?

If you had a sleep disorder, you would know it, right? Actually, many patients diagnosed with sleep disorders at our Albuquerque, NM sleep dental office are surprised to learn that they have sleep apnea. They only know that they snore and haven’t felt fully rested in years. If you struggle with snoring and breathing pauses while you sleep, you may not realize that you have a sleep disorder. Snoring and breathing pauses are often symptoms of sleep apnea, a disorder that has long-term negative effects on your health. The good news is, sleep apnea can be corrected with an oral appliance.

Tired of Being Tired? A Sleep Disorder Could be to Blame

Time spent in bed is not the same as sleep. All of those breathing pauses and awakenings caused by snoring can have a devastating toll on your health as you are prevented from entering a deep sleep. Sleeping is healing to the body. If you are only sleeping 4-6 hours per night (even if you are in bed the full 8), you will notice short-term side effects like:

  • Memory loss
  • Short attention span
  • Loss of speech fluency
  • Loss of flexible thinking
  • Depression
  • Decreased growth
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

If that sounds like you, you probably know how difficult it is to function at your best while you’re at work and home. You may find it hard to keep up with conversations, to make the best of your day at work or just get out of bed. You don’t have to live this way. In the hands of a professional, sleep apnea is easy to treat and treatment will change your life for the better.

Long-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation—How Poor Sleep Can Kill You

As if the short-term affects of poor sleep weren’t enough, studies show something far worse: untreated sleep apnea is associated with the risk of early death. Other long-term affects effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • Weight gain & the inability to lose weight
  • Cardio vascular disease, including COPD
  • Pulmonary & arterial hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression, anxiety & mood changes
  • Diabetes

A problem like snoring may seem to be a simple annoyance, but in the long run, a sleep disorder can cause premature death. Take stroke as an example. About 65-80% of stroke victims have sleep apnea. Get treatment for your sleep disorder at our dental office in Albuquerque, NM.

Types of Sleep Apnea—Do You Have Any of the Three Types?

Many people are confused by the term sleep apnea and do not realize that snoring and sleep apnea are often the same thing. In fact, two types of sleep apnea exist:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)—The most common type of sleep apnea (accounting for 80% of sleep apnea patients) is OSA, caused by a blockage in the airway that causes breathing pauses. Usually this blockage occurs then the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse and close during sleep.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)—In Central Sleep Apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal to the muscles to breathe. This presents in about 1% of sleep study patients.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea—Some patients experience a mix of OSA and CSA.

Besides snoring and breathing pauses, other symptoms that you have a sleep disorder may include teeth grinding, fatigue and morning headaches.

How Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea

You may be surprised to learn that dentists can treat sleep disorders. The reason is that disorders like snoring and sleep apnea are often treated using an oral appliance worn throughout the night. Several oral appliances exist, but generally, they are small plastic devices that can help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. This keeps the airways open, maintaining open airflow so you can get a good night’s sleep without snoring or sleep pauses.

Oral appliances are affordable, comfortable and easy to wear. It should only take you a few weeks to become used to wearing your oral appliance. Oral appliances:

  • Reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilize the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increase the muscle tone of the tongue

If you are interested at all in promoting your own health, start with sleep and the rest will fall into line much easier. Begin your treatment today, contact Dr. Jeff S. Luffey, DDS, an Albuquerque, New Mexico sleep apnea dentist: 505-247-7400.

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