Understanding Sleep Apnea
By Ann R. Sielicki, DDS on October 18, 2019
Your body needs quality sleep in order to function optimally. Not getting enough restful sleep on a regular basis can affect nearly every part of your life — including your physical health, mood, daily routine, work and interpersonal relationships.
If you constantly wake up feeling fatigued or cranky, or your spouse complains about your loud snoring, you could have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea, which requires medical intervention. Read on as Dr. Ann Sielicki explains what you should know about this serious condition.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated cessations in breath while you sleep. With the most common type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax and either narrow or close the airway. As breathing stops, the amount of oxygen in the blood goes down. Once the brain senses the inability to breathe, it wakes you up just enough so you restart breathing. You may snort, choke or gasp as you start to breathe again.
These types of breathing interruptions can happen hundreds of times a night, leaving you unable to get the deep, restorative sleep your body needs.
Signs You or a Loved One May Have Sleep Apnea
- Deep, audible snoring
- Audible choking, gasping or snorting
- Daytime fatigue
- Headaches in the mornings
Why Is Sleep Apnea So Serious?
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other life-threatening problems. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because people do not know they have it. You may sleep alone or your sleep partner may not suspect that your constant snoring is an indication of a greater problem.
Non-Invasive Sleep Apnea Treatment with Dr. Sielicki
Traditionally, sleep apnea has been treated with the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep, which keeps the airway open and prevents cessations in breath.
However, CPAP machines are bulky, uncomfortable and not easily portable.
Dr. Sielicki offers a smaller, lightweight, comfortable and portable alternative. She can fit you for an oral appliance (somewhat similar to a mouthguard) that you wear while you sleep; the appliance sets your lower jaw slightly forward to prevent the soft tissues of your mouth from relaxing and blocking your airway.
With the use of one of these oral appliances, you can get the restful, regenerative sleep your body needs, and reduce your risk of serious or even life-threatening diseases. Your energy, mood and cognitive function will improve once you start getting a full night’s sleep regularly.
Learn More about Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
If you believe you may have sleep apnea, you should see a sleep specialist for a diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and want more information about oral appliances, please contact Dr. Sielicki’s office today.
“Dr. Sielicki and her staff are professional and I immediately felt comfortable. My teeth look fantastic. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.” Emily