Snoring is typically a harmless (albeit annoying) problem that affects as many as 90 million Americans at any given time, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Equally common among young and old, male and female, snoring results from irregular breathing due to the relaxation of the throat muscles while a person sleeps. While occasional snoring does not necessarily mean that a person suffers from sleep apnea, chronic snoring is a sign of the condition, which affects more than 18 million American adults and an unspecified number of children, according to National Sleep Foundation estimates.
Sleep apnea causes repeated pauses in breathing throughout the sleep cycle, which produces a number of symptoms and can increase the risk of other health problems if left untreated. Dr. Sowmya Punaji, a dentist in Woodbridge, VA, offers Oral Appliance Therapy to help manage the symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
How Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Affects Your Sleep, Health, and Lifestyle
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive is the most common and occurs when the muscles of the throat relax during sleep and block the airway. Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when there is a problem with the brain's signals to the muscles that control breathing. In some cases, a person can suffer from both central and obstructive sleep apnea at the same time.
The lack of adequate air flow throughout the night can lead to daytime sleepiness and exhaustion, headaches, memory problems and irritability, sore throat, weight gain and insomnia. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, obstructive sleep apnea can also increase the risk of developing serious health conditions like cardiac disease (heart failure and heart attacks), hypertension, diabetes and stroke.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment in Woodbridge, VA
Sleep apnea is most commonly diagnosed by another person witnessing the pauses in a person's breathing while they sleep. A dentist can prescribe an oral appliance to help stabilize the jaw and keep the airway open during sleep. Oral appliance therapy is a minimally invasive treatment method that has proven successful in managing sleep apnea in many cases.
Find a Dentist in Woodbridge, VA
Don't let sleep apnea interfere with your health and quality of life. For more information on how to identify your symptoms and for treatment options, contact Legacy Dental Care by calling (703) 494-4490 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Punaji today.