Last week, we discussed snoring and how the phenomenon occurs. We also focused on how snoring is often more than it may seem, indicating a disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The term, “apnea,” is Greek, and loosely translated as the cessation of breathing. Many patients are driven to seek a medical diagnosis and treatment by their annoyed sleeping partners, but while the snoring patterns associated with OSA are loud, they don’t usually wake the patient from consciousness. If you sleep alone while OSA robs you of the deep rest you need, then you may experience a wide range of symptoms before realizing that something is wrong.
Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea
There are two major kinds of sleep apnea, both of which involve a patient who periodically stops breathing while asleep. Central sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that control your breathing stop contracting, often due to a nerve-signal failure. Obstructive sleep apnea describes the blocking of your airway by abnormal tissues that collapse when you sleep. After several moments, sometimes more than a minute, your brain panics, waking your body to start breathing again.
Other Signs, Besides Snoring
OSA snoring is unique in that it follows a repetitive pattern. Snoring grows louder as the tissue block more of your airway, reaching extreme levels before suddenly stopping as your airway completely closes. When your body wakes again, it’s usually with a gasp, and the process begins again. The cycle can occur hundreds of times a night, and though you may remain unaware of it, OSA can stop your mind and body from entering the deep levels of sleep they need to rest and rejuvenate. In time, you may experience signs of sleep deprivation, including;
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
- Waking with a dry mouth and/or sore throat
- Difficulty paying attention and remembering
- Reduced ability to concentrate or problem-solve
- Increased irritability
If you notice any of these symptoms, but believe you’re getting a good night’s rest, then visit Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea.
About Your Reno Dentists:
Dr. William Wager, Dr. Brian Evans, and our highly experienced team at Wager Evans Dental are devoted to our patients and their families, and dedicated to providing first-rate dental care in a comfortable, inviting environment. Located in Reno, we proudly welcome residents from Spanish Springs, Sparks, Incline Village, Dayton, Fernley, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation or your next dental appointment, visit our office, or contact us today by calling (775) 829-7700.