March 10, 2019
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects over 22 million Americans. Unfortunately, many of the cases go undiagnosed, and one of the reasons is that the people suffering aren’t aware they’re exhibiting the traits. As you continue reading, a local dentist explains what sleep apnea in Chevy Chase is, lists some of the common symptoms and discusses the importance of keeping a sleep diary.
What is Sleep Apnea?
The term ‘apnea’ refers to a temporary cessation of breathing. Thus, for people suffering from sleep apnea, there are momentary lapses in their breathing while they rest that causes them to wake-up.
Because these bouts can happen hundreds of times throughout the night, people suffering from this condition never quite feel rested, even after receiving the recommended seven-to-eight hours of sleep.
The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
The first step to receiving the treatment needed for sleep apnea is to be aware there is a problem. One of the more common signs of the condition is loud snoring.
This can result from the muscles in the throat collapsing or the tongue falling to the back of the mouth, both of which partially block the airway and cause the vibration that manifests as loud snoring.
Here are some other symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- Daytime lethargy
- Frequent mood changes
- Lost libido
- Morning headaches
- Throat soreness
- Inability to concentrate
How Sleep Apnea Can be Treated
Once you discover any of the above symptoms, you should immediately start keeping a sleep diary. Then, bring it to your primary physician’s attention so you can be scheduled for a sleep test.
It’s not unheard of for a sleep breathing disorder to be misdiagnosed, so by providing a sleep diary for your doctor to review, it’s easier for the professional to rule out certain conditions and to get to the core of the issue.
Here are some of the sleep traits you should include in your diary:
- The time you went to bed and woke up
- The quality of your sleep
- The waking times throughout the night
- How much caffeine or alcohol you consumed that day and when
- A description of foods you consumed and when
- Your moods throughout the day
- Any medications taken
This helpful information can assist your doctor in determining whether you have sleep apnea. Then, if you’re diagnosed with the condition, a sleep dentist can step in to provide the treatment you need.
The Common Types of Sleep Apnea Therapy
The most common way to treat sleep apnea is with a CPAP machine. It’s a three-part device that consists of a base unit, a tube and a mask that delivers oxygen throughout the night to ensure there are no lapses in breathing. While this method is effective, many patients aren’t happy with being treated with the bulky and noisy machine.
Thankfully, there is an alternative – an oral appliance. The custom-designed apparatus fits comfortably in your mouth while you sleep, and it helps to reposition your jaw to allow for better airflow.
When you keep a sleep diary and receive the dual input of your doctor and Chevy Chase dentist, it can be a major contributor to a successful recovery from sleep apnea.
About the Author
Dr. Ronan Freyne is a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Throughout his career, he has maintained a commitment to further expand his knowledge, which is why he has taken countless hours of continuing education courses. Dr. Freyne helps patients recover from sleep apnea at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information through his website.
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