Think the worst part of having sleep apnea is loud snoring or feeling tired all the time? Think again. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications, including diabetes, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.
Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it almost immediately: Get a custom-made intra-oral appliance from the expert dental team at Dental Studios in Summit and Westfield, New Jersey. A better night’s sleep can help you (and your partner) begin each day feeling energized instead of exhausted.
Sleep apnea isn’t just loud snoring
Sure, snoring is the reason you and those within earshot aren’t sleeping peacefully all night long. The characteristically loud, choking sounds you make as a result of sleep apnea are signs that the soft tissue in the back of your throat — and possibly your tongue — are periodically blocking your airway while you sleep. Each time this happens, you may gasp for air because you stop breathing altogether for that moment.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing, and your brain rouses you awake so you begin breathing again, up to 30 times or more every hour! Imagine if someone woke you up nearly 210 times in a 7-hour timespan when you were trying to get a restful night’s sleep. You’d do something about all those nightly interruptions, wouldn’t you?
Long-term effects of sleep apnea
If you don’t take action and restore smooth breathing and open airways, the effects of sleep apnea become a long-term problem. At first, you might just feel fatigued each day, have a dry mouth when you wake up, and potentially suffer from morning headaches. Over time, you become easily irritated, have trouble staying awake during meetings at work, or you may even fall asleep as soon as you sit on the couch to watch the news every evening.
While these effects are annoying or inconvenient, they also pose health risks. People with sleep apnea are more likely to feel depressed than adults who sleep well at night. Lack of sleep can also lead to a host of other health issues, including:
- Acid reflux
- Memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- Low blood oxygen levels
So if you believe your loud snoring isn’t doing much harm other than keeping everyone in your home awake at night, you might want to reconsider — especially if you already have symptoms of any of these health problems.
You don’t have to undergo surgery or use a CPAP machine
Some of our patients have expressed concern about not wanting to undergo a surgical procedure or wear a bulky CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to correct their sleep apnea issues. The good news is that neither one may be necessary to help you breathe better at night.
We custom-fit men and women for intra-oral appliances to help relieve sleep apnea problems. The appliance keeps your jaw in its desired forward position to limit the collapsing of oral soft tissue, allowing you to breathe easier while you sleep. For many adults, relieving the effects of sleep apnea and getting a good night’s sleep is as easy as wearing a mouthpiece at night — no bulky machines and no surgical procedures.
Losing weight, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking also help reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you’re tired of feeling tired all the time and your family has politely, yet firmly, expressed their frustration with your loud snoring, it’s time to do something about it. It may mean the difference between dealing with chronic health problems and living a healthier life in the long run.
Call to schedule a sleep apnea consultation at either our Summit or Westfield dental office, or book the next available appointment online today.