What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where your breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles in your throat fail to keep your airway open. When the airway collapses your body wakes you up momentarily in order to reopen your airway. This process is repeated several times a night.
What Are the Risk Factors?
There are several risk factors associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is commonly seen in people who are overweight. Experts estimate that almost two-thirds of patients with OSA have problems with their weight. OSA is also seen more frequently in men than in women.
Other risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Small lower jaw
- Large tonsils
What is the Connection with TMJ Disorders?
Did you know that there is a relationship between OSA and TMJ disorders? In fact, some studies show that 43% of people with TMJ disorders also have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea episodes can lead to teeth grinding, which causes damage to the jaw joint.
If you are being diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, you should also talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. Treatments for TMJ disorders may not be effective unless your airway is addressed as well.
How Do I Know I Have Sleep Apnea?
You won’t notice that you have sleep apnea right away. Most of the time you don’t notice when your body wakes you up during the night. However, you may begin to notice some of the effects sleep deprivation has on your life. You may feel drowsy during the day, even if you think you’re getting enough sleep. Your spouse or other family members may point out how loud you snore.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Headaches in the morning
- Mood changes
- High blood pressure
- Night sweats
If you notice these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about sleep apnea.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
There are several treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea. For mild cases there are several non-surgical options, including mouthpieces.
Many more severe cases are treated using the CPAP machine. CPAP machines blow pressurized air into your throat, keeping it open. These machines usually come with a mask that fits over your nose or mouth.
If devices and lifestyle changes aren’t working, surgery is your next option. In fact, surgery is the only way to cure your sleep apnea for good.
Freedom from Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Possible!
Dealing with any sleep disorder is stressful. Not getting a good night’s sleep has an impact on your life. You’re tired all the time. Focusing at work gets harder and harder. Your relationship with your family is strained.
And, trying to manage sleep apnea with devices and lifestyle changes can be challenging. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to sleep normally.
There is freedom. You can get a better night’s sleep every single night.
At PRECiDENT, we want to help you find that freedom. We are not satisfied until you get the sleep you need and deserve.