Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA for short, is the most common sleep disorder in America, and it affects millions of Americans of all ages. This breathing disorder causes poor-quality sleep in the short term, and can contribute to a higher risk of stroke, and heart disease in the long term.
But what causes it? How can you recognize it? And how can a sleep dentist like Dr. Spencer Grossman treat obstructive sleep apnea in Indian Valley? In this blog post from Indian Valley Dental, we’ll answer all of these questions and more.
What Causes Sleep Apnea? Common Causes & Risk Factors
In most cases, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a combination of different lifestyle and risk factors, rather than a single cause. A few of these common causes and risk factors include:
- Being male, since OSA is more prevalent in men than women
- Being overweight or obese due to fat deposits in the upper airway
- Having a thicker neck or narrow airway, which may interfere with proper breathing
- Being older, since older people are more likely to have apnea
- Having a family history of sleep apnea in parents, siblings, etc.
- Using alcohol or sedatives regularly, especially before sleeping
- Smoking or using other forms of tobacco
- Nasal congestion due to allergies, illness, and anatomical irregularities
- Certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s or type 2 diabetes
- Irregular mouth, palate, or airway anatomy
If you believe you have OSA, it’s best to see a sleep specialist for a full diagnosis. You may need to participate in one or more sleep studies. Your doctor will monitor you as you sleep using special machines, which will help diagnose OSA and other sleep disorders.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
If you think that you may have sleep apnea, you should be on the lookout for a few common symptoms. Every patient is different, but most people with OSA experience one or more of the following things:
- Loud snoring with frequent pauses – If your partner notices that you frequently snore and then your breathing or snoring pauses, this is a common sign of apnea.
- Waking with a choking/gasping sensation – If you wake up often in the night with a feeling of gasping for air or choking, this is a sure sign of breathing interruptions caused by OSA or a similar sleep disorder.
- Poor-quality sleep – Even if you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you may not feel well-rested if you have OSA.
- Daytime drowsiness – Since you won’t be getting high-quality sleep, you may feel drowsy during the day. This can make it hard to focus at work or school, and may even lead to dangerous issues like drowsy driving.
- Morning headaches and sore throat – Regularly waking up with a headache or a sore throat is a common indicator of OSA.
- Mood swings & loss of libido – If you seem irritable, you’re having mood swings, or your libido (sex drive) is irregularly low, these symptoms can indicate sleep apnea.
How Can My Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
Dr. Spencer Grossmann is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, and can work with your physician to provide an alternative to CPAP. Oral Appliance Therapy utilizes a special type of mouth guard that you wear at night.
An oral appliance helps shift your jaws and your airway into a healthier position as you sleep. This prevents blockage of the airway, and eliminates the need for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which is another common treatment for OSA.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea? Contact Indian Valley Dental To Get Help Today!
If you have OSA in Indian Valley or Souderton, our team is here to help. As an experienced sleep dentist, Dr. Grossman can help you explore your options, including oral appliance therapy. With our help, you can sleep peacefully, get the rest you need, and protect your long-term health. Contact us online or call today at (215) 723-5531 to schedule a consultation at Indian Valley Dental now.