When does bad snoring become a problem? When it becomes sleep apnea. This condition is marked by very loud snoring, but that’s not the only sign. And when you have sleep apnea, you keep losing out on the sleep you so desperately need.
That’s why you need to call our Birmingham, AL dental office today at 205-545-8007 to schedule sleep apnea treatment. Dr. Perrigo has been helping people for years finally get a good night’s rest. And that’s something everyone should have.
Sleep Apnea Defined
What is sleep apnea? It’s a condition where you stop sleeping while you are asleep. For most people, this happens because your throat muscles relax so much that they begin to bend and eventually close your windpipe.
Here’s how it normally plays out:
- You start snoring as your airway closes up.
- Your airway eventually closes completely, and you wake in a panic.
- As soon as you start to wake, your muscles tense up again and you can breathe.
- So you never fully wake up and quickly go back to sleep.
Believe it or not, this cycle can happen over 200 times each night! That’s why sleep apnea is a problem — it keeps stealing much-needed sleep from you.
The Truth About Sleep Apnea
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about this condition. Here are some of the most common fictions and facts about sleep apnea.
FICTION: A CPAP machine is the only treatment for sleep apnea.
FACT: An oral appliance from Dr. Perrigo can bring relief and more sleep.
When it comes to treating sleep apnea, probably the most famous treatment is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. You wear a mask when you sleep, and a hose connected to a machine gently pushing air into your windpipe. This keeps enough air pressure there to help you sleep.
However, that’s certainly not the only sleep apnea treatment. Dr. Perrigo can help with an oral appliance. This small device is worn comfortably over your teeth as you sleep. It shifts your jaw just enough to help keep your airway open during the night.
FICTION: If you snore loudly, then you definitely have sleep apnea.
FACT: Snoring is only one sign of sleep apnea, and you can snore for other reasons.
Bad, chronic snoring is definitely a sign of sleep apnea. That’s because you’re trying to breathe through an increasingly tight airway. This causes vibration and noise in your throat.
However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. In addition, there are other signs that you might have sleep apnea, including chronic fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and trouble focusing during the day.
FICTION: Sleep apnea is not serious and can be ignored.
FACT: Sleep apnea is unhealthy and can be dangerous.
What’s the big deal about losing a little sleep? The problem is that sleep apnea keeps robbing you of a good night’s rest. Your body and mind need sleep to rest and heal. When you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you can face several health risks including:
- Heart disease (your heart works harder to pump oxygen around your body).
- High blood pressure (all that extra heart pumping increases your blood pressure).
- Car accidents (because you can’t focus on the road when you’re so exhausted).
- Depression (when you’re always cranky because you’re tired, that can become serious).
FICTION: Only people who are overweight get sleep apnea.
FACT: Sleep apnea can hit anyone regardless of weight.
There definitely is a connection between being overweight and having sleep apnea. The heavier you are, the more likely you’ll have bad snoring and lost sleep. However, that does not mean you are not at risk for sleep apnea if you are thin (or at least have a healthy weight). Sleep apnea can hit everybody no matter their weight.
FICTION: Sleep apnea is only a problem for older men.
FACT: People of any age or gender can get sleep apnea.
For some people, the stereotypical sleep apnea sufferer is an older, overweight guy. That’s true to some extent. Again, people who are overweight are at a higher risk of sleep apnea. The same is true for men and older people.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to those people. Any gender and almost any age can get sleep apnea.