Sleep Apnea & Your Health
Sleep apnea causes the patient to completely stop breathing several times during the night. This dramatically reduces your blood oxygen level, leading to serious health issues. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the severity of a number of medical issues, including:
- High blood pressure
- Acid reflux disease (GERD)
- Weakened immune system
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when there’s a blockage somewhere along the airway as you sleep. It often happens because the tongue falls back into the throat. When your brain notices the resulting drop in your oxygen level, it causes you to wake up suddenly. In many cases, this leads to an audible gasp that your spouse or sleeping partner may notice. Although sleep apnea patients can wake up between five and thirty times per hour, most people won’t even recall their sleep apnea episodes the next day. Unfortunately, this is a serious sleeping disorder that isn’t likely to get better on its own.
Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea
Heavy snoring is a major symptom of sleep apnea. Additional signs you may be suffering from sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness and irritability. Depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and morning headaches are also common sleep apnea symptoms.
Dr. Bassford Can Help
Dr. Alice Bassford is an experienced sleep dentist. In fact, she’s recognized as a Qualified Dentist by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Bassford will check your airway for signs of sleep apnea and ask you some questions about the type of sleep you’ve been getting. She’ll make sure you get the correct diagnosis for your sleep apnea and the treatment that’s right for you. Many of our patients find relief using oral appliance therapy. These easy-to-use devices gently reposition the jaw forward, allowing you to breathe freely throughout the night. Our patients tell us that oral appliance therapy is a convenient alternative to CPAP, which can be loud, annoying, and difficult to use.
Get Refreshing Sleep Every Night
It’s time to get effective relief for your sleep apnea so you can wake up every morning feeling refreshed and ready to go. Call (301) 593-5500 today to learn more about our sleep apnea care. If you wish, we’ll be happy to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bassford — it’s the first step on the road to a healthier life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it dangerous to leave sleep apnea untreated?
Yes! Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that leads to many symptoms beyond just snoring and not getting enough sleep. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to several health consequences, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and liver problems.
Some of these events can even be fatal in the worst-case scenario, so it’s crucial to get help from an experienced sleep dentist like Dr. Bassford. During your consultation at our Silver Spring practice, she’ll evaluate your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that fits your needs.
How can I reduce my risk of sleep apnea?
When combined with professional treatment, making certain lifestyle changes may be beneficial in reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Some effective natural remedies that Dr. Bassford recommends include:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Exercise regularly (yoga specifically promotes oxygen flow)
- Change your sleep position, also referred to as positional therapy
- Use a humidifier to open your airways
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, especially before bedtime