San Francisco and Marin CA
You make sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour–or even early–but no matter what, you still wake up tired. Does this sound like you? Do you wake up tired? Maybe you snore, experience consistent fatigue or have trouble focusing during the day. There’s a myriad of reasons that can lead to bad sleep: a disruptive bedroom environment, staying in bed too long or feeling the effects of something you ate or drank. You may even have a squirmy bedmate that is affecting your quality of rest. Another cause of poor sleep is obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep breathing disorder. Read on as Glen Park Dental explores how sleep apnea can leave you feeling exhausted.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
One of the most well-known and most severe sleep breathing disorders, sleep apnea occurs when the airway collapses or becomes blocked while you sleep. Every time a blockage happens, whether partial or complete, the airflow becomes restricted or completely cuts off. Oxygen levels drop and your brain reacts as if you are choking to death, sending signals to the body to resume the normal breathing pattern, which requires interrupting your sleep cycle. Each of these blockages is known as an “apneic event” and, for someone with severe, untreated sleep apnea, this can happen hundreds of times in a night.
Consequences of lost sleep
Now that you know what occurs when someone suffers from sleep apnea, you can see how this cycle causes your body to miss out on any deep, quality sleep. Proper sleep is vital to restore your energy, mind and body. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will not experience enough of the physical and mental revitalization that occur during the deepest stage of sleep. If you have sleep apnea, it doesn’t matter how many hours you spend asleep–you’re never going to get the quality rest you need to function at your best.
Over a long period of time, living with sleep loss could cause one or more of the following issues:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Mood swings and irritability
- Chronic fatigue
Loss of libido or impotence
- Unexplained weight gain
- Overall decline in physical health
The risks of undiagnosed sleep apnea
The National Sleep Foundation estimates that about 20% of the American population suffers from some form of sleep apnea. This is only an estimate because, many times, sleep apnea unfortunately goes undiagnosed and therefore, goes untreated. Living with untreated sleep apnea elevates your risk for specific serious, chronic and even life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and cognitive decline.
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
At Glen Park Dental, we practice sleep apnea dentistry. This is a specialization of the dental field that focuses on airway management. Our staff is specially trained to help you treat your sleep apnea. We conduct airway evaluations and sleep studies that address the root of your sleep breathing disorder–whatever is obstructing the airway. As for treatment, we prefer oral appliance therapy. This entails providing the patient with a custom-made oral appliance that guides the lower jaw into the ideal forward position, maintaining maximum airflow during sleep and to help prevent blockages.
Sleep apnea dentistry in San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland in California
Not all dentists are trained in sleep disorders, but at Glen Park Dental, our staff includes practitioners of sleep apnea dentistry. If you or a family member often experience loud snoring, consistent fatigue or trouble focusing, these all can be signs of undiagnosed sleep apnea. You owe it to yourself, your health and your quality of life to be screened for sleep apnea. To find out more, contact us online or call (415) 585-1500 to schedule an appointment today.