Does your partner complain that you snore? Do you wake frequently at night?
You may suffer from sleep apnea.
This common sleep disorder is far more than just a nuisance. It has serious consequences on your quality of life and overall health. It can even lead to death.
Don’t dismiss your symptoms. If you live in the Dallas area and think you may have sleep apnea, call Gregory Allen Kerbel, DDS at 972-360-9944. We have the solutions you need to breathe easily and sleep soundly through the night.
You May Have Sleep Apnea and Not Even Know It
Sleep apnea is a common, potentially serious, but often undiagnosed sleep disorder in which sufferers actually stop breathing as they sleep. These brief but frequent episodes may happen dozens of times per hour and hundreds of times over the course of a night.
There are two types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is a result of the brain failing to tell the muscles to breathe. But by far the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea. As the name suggests, this is caused by a physical obstruction — typically, the soft tissue from the back of the throat — hanging down and blocking the airway.
According to the American Sleep Association, sleep apnea is believed to afflict 25 million Americans, including up to 21% of women and up to 31% of men. Astonishingly — and dangerously — up to 80% of these people have not been diagnosed or treated.
Sleep Apnea Affects Your Overall Health
Sleep apnea is not just about sleep. It has been shown to cause or contribute to several serious systemic health problems.
- If you have high blood pressure, sleep apnea may make it worse. This may be due to the stress that frequent wakenings puts on your body. Plus when you aren’t breathing properly, your blood oxygen levels will drop.
- Heart disease and strokes are associated with sleep apnea. Again, frequent wakenings stress the body and disrupt oxygen levels.
- It’s estimated that 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes suffer from sleep apnea. The link isn’t entirely clear, but obesity is a risk factor for both conditions. Lack of sleep may also affect your body’s ability to properly moderate insulin levels.
- It’s known that people who are obese are more likely to get sleep apnea. But sleep apnea may actually make weight problems worse. This could be due to a number of factors. Sleep apnea sufferers may release more of a hormone called ghrelin, which causes carb cravings. Your body may not metabolize food efficiently when you’re tired. Plus, when you’re exhausted, you just don’t have the energy to exercise or be active.
- Sleep apnea increases your risk of being in a car or heavy-machinery accident. You are six times more likely to die in a car crash.
The detrimental effects of sleep apnea are not limited to the person with the disorder. Bed mates of people with sleep apnea lose sleep as well due to their partner’s snoring.
Beyond Snoring: Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Any combination of the following symptoms may indicate you have sleep apnea.
- Loud snoring (especially with obstructive sleep apnea)
- Headaches in the morning
- Frequent awakenings at night (sometimes with a choking or gasping sensation)
- Sore or dry throat in the morning
- Chronic tiredness during the day
- Forgetfulness or inability to focus
- Irritability or mood changes
- Episode of not breathing at night (as noticed by another person)
Anyone Can Get Sleep Apnea
While men, women, and even children can get sleep apnea, men are two times more likely than women to have the condition. Other risk factors include:
- Use of alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Nasal congestion
- Neck circumference: people with thicker necks often have narrower airways
- Genetically narrow airway
- Age: sleep apnea is more common in older adults
We Have Sleep Apnea Solutions
If you think you may have sleep apnea, call Gregory Allen Kerbel, DDS and we will help you schedule a sleep study with a specialist. If the results indicate you do have sleep apnea, we will come up with a custom solution based on the specialist’s evaluation.
We offer two types of oral appliances that open airways and keep you breathing steadily. The appliances are adjustable for performance and comfort, and are made right here at the office.