What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is the second most common sleep disorder, behind insomnia. While asleep, the tongue and jaw relax and slide against the back of the throat, causing the airway to be obstructed and preventing you from breathing like you should.
The body will wake itself up to start breathing again, but will not fully wake you. You can wake up slightly hundreds of times a night, leaving you exhausted the next day and at risk for serious health problems – without even knowing it.
How Dangerous Is Untreated Sleep Apnea?
People often take sleep apnea lightly because the most common characteristic of the disorder is snoring – which can often be the subject of jokes. Dr. McElroy cautions against this – sleep apnea can be deadly. The list below shows some of the risks of leaving sleep apnea untreated:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
- Sudden Death
- Severe Asthma Attacks
- Shortened Life Span
- Car accidents (from being exhausted behind the wheel)
- Work accidents (again, from exhaustion)
- Inability to concentrate
- Decreased interest in sex
- Chronic Exhaustion
- Weight Gain
Check out this sleep apnea quiz to see if you might have this disorder, or look at the risk factors to see if this condition could affect you.
Can I Treat My Sleep Apnea Without CPAP?
Many people with sleep apnea can’t tolerate the CPAP machines their doctors often prescribe – don’t let this be a reason for avoiding treatment and leaving yourself at risk for the conditions above.
At our office, we can address your sleep disorder with custom oral appliance therapy. We’ll fit you for a 100% individualized device that’s similar to a nightguard. You’ll only wear this while you sleep – it will gently pull your jaw and tongue away from the back of your throat, allowing you to breathe easy and get the rest you need.
This therapy has several advantages over CPAP – it’s less expensive, it’s comfortable and patients actually use their oral appliances, and it’s effective. Dental therapy for sleep apnea works for about 80% of patients.
If you have sleep apnea and CPAP isn’t for you, don’t let another night go by where you’re at risk for serious health problems. Schedule your appointment today and get back to sleeping soundly!
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