What Are The Three (3) Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
- Loud snoring
- Episodes of suffocation in which you stop breathing during sleep
- Gasping for air during sleep
The most troubling concern of sleep apnea is that the oxygen level of the blood drops drastically. This drop in blood oxygen levels can lead to drowsiness, forgetfulness, lack of energy and drive, weight gain, mood swings, decreased libido, depression, and pain. If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to permanent brain damage and even premature death.
What Happens if Sleep Apnea is Left Untreated?
Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder, affecting an estimated 190 million people in North America. Approximately 80% of these cases are left undiagnosed.
Because it is not always easy to correlate the symptoms of sleep apnea to the actual sleep apnea disorder, many people suffering from this condition never find out what is causing it. It can be very depressing to be so tired all the time and not know why.
The impact of losing quality sleep on health and well-being is significantly debilitating. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in all sorts of health problems, including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart), heart failure, obesity, diabetes, depression, brain damage, and heart attacks.
How Can I Test Myself for Sleep Apnea?
Here at Hillsboro Dental Excellence, after you meet with Dr. Skinner for a sleep consult, we can prescribe you an at-home sleep testing system called a Z Machine. This Z Machine will document how many sleep interruptions you have during the night. It will also confirm the amount of oxygen in your blood during the interruptions and give you an average blood oxygen level during the night.
If you were to go to a sleep study center, it could cost you as much as $3,000 per night. Our Z Machine rental cost is only $250 for two nights, and insurance can often help with that.
Can Apple Watch Detect Sleep Apnea?
Cardiograms and UCSF previously demonstrated the ability of the Apple Watch to detect abnormal heart rhythms with 97 percent accuracy. This new study shows the Watch can detect sleep apnea with 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with 82 percent accuracy.
A third-party app called NapBot is available for a free trial with your apple watch, which monitors for sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep apnea affects an estimated 190 million adults in North America. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, eighty percent of those cases are moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea and remain undiagnosed. This is a severe condition where the person affected stops breathing in their sleep and can lead to premature death.
How Do I Get Rid of Sleep Apnea?
The first step is to determine which type of sleep apnea you may have and its severity. From there, the doctors at Hillsboro Dental Excellence will put together a plan to give you the best results.
An oral appliance is a custom mouthpiece that holds the jaw slightly forward, preventing the jaw and tongue from falling back into the throat.
NightLase is a non-invasive laser therapy applied to the back of the throat, tongue, and sometimes to the nasal passages, strengthening and tightening the tissues. This gives you more room to breathe comfortably and get a great night’s sleep moving through each sleep stage properly.
Invisalign or Candid clear aligners can be used to make more room for your tongue, so it is less likely to be pushed back into your throat and cut off your air.
What Are The 3 Types of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea has three forms: obstructive, central, and complex.
By far, the most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This is when a person’s airway closes up either in the throat or nasal cavity, and the body has to partially wake up to get a breath of air.
Central sleep apnea happens when the brain does not send the proper signals to the breathing muscles to keep normal breathing patterns while sleeping.
Complex sleep apnea is identified by central apneas or hypopneas that happen despite the airway being open because the patient is using a CPAP.
Does Sleep Apnea Go Away?
No, it almost always needs medical or dental intervention to improve or cure sleep apnea. Usually, sleep apnea does not go away on its own, but it can be decreased if an overweight person loses some weight. Because of the prevalence of the standard American diet and weight gain, humans have become much more prone to sleep apnea.
Fortunately, dentistry has come a long way in treating more than just teeth. Advances in opening airways using NightLase (a laser treatment to tighten and strengthen tissues in the tongue, throat, and nasal passages), sleep apnea mouthpieces (positioning the jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open), aligning teeth with Invisalign or Candid clear aligners, and with palatal expansion (MARPE, mini-implant-assisted rapid palatal expansion) have become the most effective, least invasive ways to treat sleep apnea. In many cases, these treatments can cure sleep apnea altogether.
Can Sleep Apnea be Cured Naturally?
Very few cases of sleep apnea can be cured naturally without dental or medical intervention. Losing weight and doing tongue exercises (myofunctional therapy) are the only natural things people can do at home to decrease the severity of their sleep apnea.
Modern medicine has developed several holistic solutions for sleep apnea. These include NightLase, sleep apnea mouthpieces, clear aligners, and MARPE (mini-implant-assisted rapid palatal expansion). None of these solutions require taking any kind of medication.
What is the Best Sleep Position for Sleep Apnea?
Sleeping on your side is the best position to give yourself a better apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is the number of events (sleep interruptions) you have per hour. Sleeping on your back probably gives you the worst chance of breathing well while sleeping because it lets the tongue fall into the back of the throat and gives you the highest AHI.
Some studies suggest that sleeping on your left side is even better than on the right. It can encourage blood flow and helps with digestion and acid reflux, and many of you sleep apnea sufferers probably know from experience that acid reflux is sometimes correlated.
Can a Pillow Help with Sleep Apnea?
Most studies indicate that a sleep apnea pillow does little or nothing to help people with sleep apnea unless it raises your head at least 4”. If you’re using a CPAP machine, sometimes these pillows help keep the tubing and cabling out of the way while you sleep, so for some people, they may have some benefits.
At Hillsboro Dental Excellence, our goal is to give people who suffer from sleep apnea the best, most effective alternative treatment to wearing a CPAP whenever possible.
Can Skinny People Have Sleep Apnea?
Yes. Any person of any size can have sleep apnea. For example, a person’s lower jaw can be too crowded or too small, forcing the tongue upward and blocking the airway in the back of the throat, significantly limiting airflow. People’s tongues and throats can also be too big or get too relaxed during sleep and fall back into the throat and close up the airway.
A deviated septum or chronic nasal congestion can cause all sorts of breathing problems that force you to breathe through your mouth. Mouth breathing can increase your risk for apneic events by up to 250%
What Triggers Sleep Apnea?
When you are in REM sleep, all of your muscles relax and become immobilized. During sleep, obstructive sleep apnea is when your airway is closed off and breathing is compromised. Sometimes the tongue and throat muscles relax too much, which softens the tissues causing them to collapse and close off our airways. The lower jaw can also be too crowded, forcing the tongue backward and blocking off your airway.
Once the oxygen levels of your blood dip far enough, the brain goes into panic mode, which wakes you up so you can breathe again. Poor functioning, misshapen nasal cavities, and deviated septums can significantly resist airflow, triggering sleep apnea.
People who are overweight, especially those who carry excess weight in the face, neck, and chest, will have more trouble keeping their airways open for optimal breathing during sleep. Unfortunately, overweight people tend to have the highest AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index), the amount of breathing interruptions per hour.
How Long Can You Live with Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a severe medical condition and should not be ignored because it is linked to multiple other diseases like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and many others. Many treatments are available to treat sleep apnea successfully, so please take advantage of our quick and easy treatments to significantly improve your life.
The amount of life we get to share with our loved ones is limited, and sleep apnea can shorten that time considerably. Some studies suggest that sleep apnea can shorten your life by 12-15 years. Untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, weight gain, and many other poor mental and physical conditions.
Can Sleep Apnea be Caused by Stress?
Sleep apnea can be exacerbated by stress, but there’s no direct causal link between the two conditions. Instead, sleep apnea and stress together can significantly negatively affect your quality of life. They can increase your chances of developing other conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in an untimely death. Some studies suggest that it can shorten your life by up to 12-15 years and cause many other health problems, including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart), or heart failure.
Is Coffee Good for Sleep Apnea?
Caffeine’s effect on obstructive sleep apnea is largely unknown. Coffee may help a person with sleep apnea feel better, more alert, and happier during the day, but limiting coffee consumption to 10 hours before bedtime is a good idea because caffeine can decrease the quality of deep sleep.
The level of caffeine in your blood peaks at about one hour after coffee consumption and stays at this level for several hours for most people. Six hours after caffeine is consumed, half of it is still in your body, and it can take up to 12 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream. There is no evidence that drinking coffee too close to bedtime contributes to obstructive sleep apnea. Still, there is evidence that it could contribute to a less-than-optimal sleep experience.
Some studies showed that a higher-than-average daily caffeine intake improved cognitive performance in patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. However, this is a band-aid type treatment that only helps the symptoms, not the root cause.
What are the 6 Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
- 1. Feeling tired, exhausted, unenthusiastic, hopeless, confused, and depressed during the day.
- 2. Loud snoring that keeps your family and loved ones awake at night.
- 3. Waking up gasping or choking. Most of the time, people with sleep apnea won’t even know that they woke themselves up and will either fall back into their poor sleep pattern or stay awake with their minds racing for the rest of the night and not know why.
- 4. Noticing that you wake up several times a night. Sleep anxiety can also come into play when this happens; then comes frustration when you finally fall asleep, only to choke yourself awake again.
- 5. Having a very sore throat, dry mouth, and headaches in the morning.
- 6. High blood pressure, weight gain, and many other poor mental and physical conditions.