Do I have sleep Apnea?
Sleep and it’s the critical role it plays in good health has been a hot topic lately. For this reason, conditions that interrupt proper sleep are becoming more and more important to detect. One such condition that has been talked a lot about lately is sleep apnea.
We all know sleep apnea is bad and can lead to many health problems, but the more important question is, how do you know if you or someone you love might have sleep apnea?
In our office at Lake Forest Dental Choice it is part of our routine exam to screen patients to see if they are at risk for any kind of sleep breathing disorder and help them get tested. But, if you have not yet been screened, there are some signs that you should be aware of that might indicate you could be at risk.
Here are 9 easy signs to look for that might suggest you could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or another form of sleep breathing disorder. And don’t assume sleep breathing disorders are only for middle aged over weight men, even if you are a thin young female, you might still be at a high risk so read on.
- This is an interesting one because snoring could mean that there is some form of obstruction along the airway, therefore, the snoring sound that is made when someone breaths in and out. Depending of the level of obstruction, snoring can be a sign or even a precursor to obstructive sleep apnea.
- waking up gasping for air, or someone witnesses an interruption in your breathing when sleeping
- This one is very important because if there is an interruption in your breathing, or you wake up gasping for air, or feel like you are being choked in your sleep, then you should definitely get tested for a sleep breathing disorder.
- Feeling very tired during the day
- If you have a sleep breathing disorder, you get multiple interruptions in your sleep and therefore don’t get the complete restful sleep your brain and body need, which leads to feeling tired during the day.
- Waking up with night sweats
- We’re not talking about the way your body will sweat if your bedroom is too hot, we’re talking about waking up with night sweats even when your bedroom is at an ideal temp. One reason for this if when your body is starved for oxygen, it works harder to get the oxygen in desperately needs, and therefore resulting in night sweats.
- Frequent night time urination
- If you wake up more than the normal 1-2 times a night to use the bathroom, then you might be suffering from some form of a sleep breathing disorder. When your body wakes up due to lack of oxygen, the brain sends a signal to urinate. That’s why if you have sleep apnea and your brain is woken up multiple times a night, there are multiple signals send to the body to empty the bladder, therefore, more frequent urinations during sleeping hours.
- Difficulty concentrating, depression, mood swings
- If you wake up and feel like a different person, like the green hulk in you is coming out over the slightest things, it might be due to your sleep. The reason for this is if you have obstructive sleep apnea or another form of a sleep breathing disorder your body and brain get woken from sleep multiple times a night, leading to interrupted sleep. Interrupted sleep, even if it’s for 10 hours, is not restful sleep. The result, you wake up feeling moody depressed, and irritable.
- Acid reflux (Also known as GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
- You might be thinking how could having acid reflux possibly be an indication of having sleep apnea or other sleep breathing disorder. Well, believe it or not, there is a higher likelihood of having acid reflux if you have OSA. The reason is a bit complicated, but simply put, if you have apnea, as you breath in and out, because of the smaller airway and the changes in pressure in the chest cavity, a suction effect is created as you breath out. This suction effect also influences the digestive tract and brings up the acid in the stomach, also known as acid reflux.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth during your sleep (Also knows as Sleep Bruxism)
- Grinding of the teeth, also known as Sleep Bruxism, has been categorized as a sleep related movement disorder. Basically, if you are a tooth grinder, the involuntary muscle movements of the jaw have been known to cause disturbances during sleep and therefore, disturb the stages of sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome
- Another type of sleep related movement disorder. The best way to describe restless leg syndrome is an irresistible urge to move your legs, or feet. This is more common in women than men and usually happens more during the later hours of the day when the legs are at rest. This uncontrollable urge to move your legs often times also happens as you are falling asleep or can even occur during sleep. So, you can see why this syndrome can cause a delay in the start of sleep or disturb the normal sleep cycle.
What to do if you suspect you might have sleep apnea
- If you think you might have sleep apnea, the best things you could do is let your doctor know so they can check you for risk factors. Once your level of risk has been determined, you can get set up for a sleep test for a proper diagnosis to be made.
How sleep apnea is treated
- If you get officially diagnosed with sleep apnea in Lake Forest, CA, 92630, there are some sleep apnea treatments in Lake Forest, CA (more like management) available to you. These options are using a CPAP, a custom made oral appliance, or a combination of both.
- The CPAP is a mask that is put on during sleep and what it does is basically push air (and therefore, oxygen) into your airway. These options are usually best for anyone who has more severe sleep apnea.
- Another option is using a custom made oral appliance. An oral appliance is made by a dentist. It is similar to a night guard. It usually does 3 things:
- It moves the lower jaw forward slightly, which helps to open the airway
- It opens the mouth slightly which also opens the airway.
- Also acts as a night guard, therefore, prevents damage to teeth if you are a tooth grinder.
- An oral appliance is a great option if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, or if you cannot tolerate the CPAP
- A third options is a combination of both a CPAP and an Oral Appliance. In this option, you essentially wear your oral appliance at night when you are sleeping and put on the CPAP. This combination is ideal for someone with severe sleep apnea, but with this option, because of the use of an oral appliance, the pressure of a CPAP can be reduced and therefore, the CPAP can become more tolerable.
As more and more light is being shed on sleep disorders, including OSA, and their importance in the overall health, the more important it is to detect possible signs and symptoms, especially early on. I really hope this information has been helpful to you and helps clarify the signs and symptoms you need to be looking for about sleep disorders and sleep apnea treatment in Lake Forest, CA, 92630.