Sleep Apnea and Your Health in Silver Spring, MD
Is Sleep Apnea Affecting You?
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that interrupts your breathing throughout the night. It occurs due to a blockage in the airway, jolting you awake because of the lack of oxygen. In most cases, people won’t remember waking up during their sleep apnea episodes. Without treatment, sleep apnea can result in a wide variety of symptoms that impact both your physical and mental health daily.
At Silver Spring Sleep Solutions, Dr. Bassford and our team are here for you. Learn all about sleep apnea and the effects it can have on your overall health below.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea that most patients suffer from:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) — occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat block your airway during sleep. This interrupts the flow of oxygen, causing you to snore and wake up repeatedly throughout the night.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) — occurs when the brain isn’t sending the proper messages to your body to breathe during sleep. This type of sleep apnea is typically caused due to an underlying health condition.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Without a proper diagnosis, it can be hard to determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea. However, if you’re dealing with any of the following symptoms, we suggest scheduling a consultation at our Silver Spring office:
- Loud snoring
- Memory issues
- Getting up multiple times/night to go to the bathroom
- Decreased libido
- Waking up with headaches and/or dry mouth
- Gasping or choking sounds while you sleep
- Fatigue during the day
- Mood changes
You can schedule your consultation with our sleep dentist by calling our practice at (240) 234-0948.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
Certain factors are likely to increase your risk of developing sleep apnea, including:
- Large neck circumference
- Tobacco use
- Nasal congestion
- Alcohol consumption
Dangers to Your Health
Leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to the development of other serious health conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms that accompany a sleep disorder to ensure you can seek the treatment you need. The consequences go far beyond fatigue from lack of sleep — untreated sleep apnea has been linked to life-threatening issues including heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
In addition to physical health consequences, sleep apnea can negatively affect your mental health as well. When you’re not getting the restorative sleep your body needs, you’ll start to feel tired and lack motivation. Eventually, this can result in anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I reduce my risk of sleep apnea?
To reduce the risk of sleep apnea, try the following methods:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid alcohol, sedatives, and tobacco
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene
- Elevate your head during sleep or sleep on your side
- Treat nasal congestion
- Consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment
These lifestyle changes and habits can help keep your airway open, improve sleep quality, and lower the chances of experiencing sleep apnea. Remember to seek personalized advice from a healthcare professional based on your circumstances.
Is it dangerous to leave sleep apnea untreated?
Yes, untreated sleep apnea can have serious health consequences. It disrupts breathing during sleep, leading to oxygen deprivation and increasing the risk of the following:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problem
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Daytime sleepiness
- Cognitive impairment
- Mood disorders
Recognizing symptoms like snoring and excessive sleepiness is important for diagnosis and seeking treatment. It’s crucial to address sleep apnea promptly to prevent potential complications and improve quality of life.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea diagnosis involves a medical evaluation and a sleep study. A healthcare professional will first conduct a comprehensive assessment, reviewing your medical history and symptoms. They may ask about your sleep patterns, daytime fatigue, and related health conditions.
To confirm the diagnosis, a sleep study, known as a polysomnography, is often recommended. This study involves monitoring various physiological factors during sleep, such as breathing patterns, oxygen levels, brain activity, and heart rate. It can be conducted in a sleep laboratory or, in some cases, at home using portable monitoring devices.
Is sleep apnea genetic?
While sleep apnea can run in families, it’s not solely determined by genetics. There’s evidence suggesting genetic factors may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to developing sleep apnea. However, it’s a complex condition influenced by various factors, including lifestyle, obesity, anatomical features, and underlying medical conditions. Certain genetic disorders or abnormalities can also increase the likelihood of sleep apnea.
Get the Sleep You Need for a Healthy Life
Dr. Alice Bassford is board certified and a diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. When you visit Silver Spring Sleep Solutions for a consultation, she’ll check your airway for signs of sleep apnea and ask you some questions about the quality of sleep you’ve been getting. She’ll also make sure you get the correct diagnosis for your condition and determine the treatment that’s best 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, uncomfortable, and difficult to use.
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 our Silver Spring office at (240) 234-0948 today to learn more about our sleep apnea care and schedule a consultation with Dr. Bassford — it’s your first step on the road to a healthier life.