Sleep apnea is caused by a narrowing of the airways passages during sleep. In some cases the airways, close. This narrowing reduces the amount of oxygen taken in by the body. If oxygen levels get too low, the brain signals that more air is needed and the body wakes to take a breath. This cycle not only disturbs your sleep, but also triggers the release of stress hormones that can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed based on medical and family history, physical exam, and sleep studies. Your dentist will work closely with your doctor to review the data and gather information about sleep quality, napping, how you feel in the morning, and other indicators. Since most people do not recognize whether or not they have sleep apnea, it is a good practice to consult with your dentist or doctor to discuss all aspects of sleep apnea.
In mild cases of sleep apnea, certain lifestyle changes may alleviate the condition. Alcohol and medicines that cause sleepiness should be avoided. Weight loss is important, and individuals who are overweight are at a higher risk of sleep apnea. Use of nasal sprays and allergy medicines may help keep the nasal passage open. Talk to your dentist at Village Park to learn about all lifestyle changes that can help you get a better night’s sleep.