What is Sleep Apnea?

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Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel exhausted during the day even though you slept the night before? If so, you may be experiencing the common symptoms of a serious sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea affects over ten million Americans. In addition to poor rest, sleep apnea also increases the risk of serious health complications.

The Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for brief intervals during the night. This is due to obstruction by the soft tissues in the back of the throat, which prevent proper airflow. When the brain becomes deprived of oxygen, the patient is woken up to start breathing again. This cycle can occur hundreds of times every night and often, people are unaware of how many times they are waking up in the night.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic snoring
  • Waking up choking or gasping for air
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating or irritability
  • Depression

Without treatment, sleep apnea can lead to an increase in blood pressure, elevating the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Treating Sleep Apnea

How do you treat sleep apnea? After the cause and severity of your sleep apnea has been assessed, we may recommend the use of an oral splint. Similar to a night guard, this device is worn during sleep and moves the jaw forward, preventing the throat muscles from obstructing airflow when they relax. This reduces snoring and keeps airways open so you breathe easily. There are also simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of sleep apnea, including:

  • Keeping your room dark and cool
  • Removing TVs or computers from your room
  • Avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bed
  • Losing weight with diet and exercise

About Your San Fernando Valley Dentists

At A New Smile Dental Group, our dentists strive to offer each patient individual care and access to the latest in modern dentistry at an affordable price. If you would like to schedule a consultation, contact us at our San Fernando Valley office at (818) 897-5771. We proudly serve communities in Pacoima, San Fernando, Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, Sylmar, and Mission Hills.