What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing intermittently during sleep. There are a few different types of sleep apnea and Dr. Ridgell provides treatment for the most common type, known as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat relax and obstruct the airway. Many, if not most, sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea snore.
How Will I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
The most common way that sleep apnea is discovered is by the patient’s bed partner. Some signs are very loud snoring and pauses in breathing. Patients who are without a bed partner have tried recording the sounds they make when asleep and checking for signs of sleep apnea like loud snoring or choking and gasping sounds. Other signs of sleep apnea include:
- excessive daytime sleepiness, even including falling asleep during the day without trying
- morning headaches
- memory or learning problems, trouble maintaining concentration
- irritability, depression, mood swings
- waking up frequently
- dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening in the morning
What are the Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea?
We all know that there are serious risks involved with sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea, unfortunately, creates a chronic sleep deficit that can have a negative effect on your overall health. Some problems that have been linked to sleep apnea induced sleep deprivation are:
- high blood pressure and/or heart trouble
- daytime fatigue
- complications with surgery or other medical treatment
- reduced liver function
- relationship issues can be caused or exacerbated by sleep apnea as it affects the bed partner as well
We Can Help!
For many mild-to-moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the treatment is as simple as using a mouthpiece that is designed to keep the airway open as you sleep. Two common such devices are:
- several different mandibular repositioning devices available depending on your needs
- tongue retaining device
If you have, or think you have, a problem with sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Donald Ridgell by calling (864) 232-3882 or by filling out the form here to request an appointment. You need a good night’s sleep! Let us help you and your bed partner get the recuperative rest that you deserve!