Obstructive sleep apnea, commonly known as just sleep apnea, is a disorder that many people have without realizing it. However, as a sleep breathing disorder, it can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep, and over time, your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to determine if you may be suffering from sleep apnea, and several things that could warn you of it even if you don’t suspect it. Today, we examine a few of these warnings, and why they indicate a much bigger threat than you might expect.
A serious chronic snoring problem
One of the most consistent warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic, excessively loud snoring habit. This is caused by the same obstruction that defines sleep apnea; as mouth and throat tissues obstruct your airway, the increased pressure of your breathing causes your throat tissues to vibrate loudly. However, unlike a regular snoring habit, sleep apnea will cause the obstruction to completely block your airway, forcing you to stop breathing. Consequently, your chronic, loud snoring will be periodically interrupted by moments of silence, until your body forces its airway open again.
The sleep breathing disruptions
The interruptions to your breathing pattern caused by your airway obstruction cause several different problems. Every night, they can repeat themselves hundreds of times, and every time, the episode interrupts your sleep pattern, as well. Your brain and body are roused in panic due to the lack of oxygen, which prevents them from ever resting and recuperating fully. Even if you don’t notice the interruptions (and most people with sleep apnea don’t), the effects of having your sleep breathing pattern constantly interrupted can have serious consequences for your systemic wellbeing.
The overall sleep deprivation
When you don’t get enough (or any) deep sleep every night, it’s almost like not sleep at all. Deep sleep (or R.E.M., for rapid eye movement) is necessary for the cells in your brain and body to rest and recuperate fully after the stress of the day. Without this rest, you’ll begin to feel the daily impacts of sleep deprivation, leading to increased tiredness and fatigue, trouble concentrating and completing simple tasks, and more. These effects can worsen the longer sleep apnea remains untreated, and because you don’t notice the interruptions to your sleep, this may be more challenging than you expect.
Learn how we can treat sleep apnea
Having sleep apnea can be a bigger deal than you realize. Fortunately, we can help many patients improve their quality of sleep with customized treatment. To schedule a consultation, call our dental office in Los Angeles, CA, today at (310) 446-GUMS (4867). We also proudly serve patients living in Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Century City, Encino, and all surrounding communities.