Do you wake up several times in the night? Do you feel out of breath when you wake? Do you doze off during the day? Do you sleep all night, yet you’re still tired the next day? If you answered yes to any of these, there is a chance you have sleep apnea.
Let’s explain what sleep apnea is and why it’s so important to get treatment for it.
Sleep apnea affects more than 12 million Americans, though many people don’t realize they have it. Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing momentarily during their sleep. The halted breathing can last for a few seconds or up to a minute. The person may or may not wake up, but it is enough to keep them from entering a deep sleep.
The body rejuvenates itself during deep sleep, so a disruption of that deep sleep can cause both short-term and long-term health effects.
Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed with a sleep study, which tracks the number of times per hour that breathing stops during the patient’s slumber. Not everyone needs a sleep study, but your doctor may recommend one if you have one or more of these symptoms:
Waking up several times in the night may not seem like a big deal, but it’s more detrimental than you might think. Untreated, sleep apnea can increase blood pressure. Over time, it can increase risk factors for cardiac problems, heart attack, and stroke. Long-term fatigue can decrease motor skills and memory. It can also be dangerous during surgery, as sleep apnea can affect how you are affected by anesthesia and can cause complications if you have to lay flat.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but it tends to affect males more than females and those over 40 compared to those younger. Other factors can increase your risk, including smoking, obesity, drinking, the use of tranquilizers, and family history.
For the mildest cases, sleeping on your side or losing weight may be enough to reduce or eliminate sleep apnea. The more severe cases may need treatment appliances.
Many people believe the only treatment for sleep apnea is to use a CPAP machine, which forces air into your nose to keep your airway open and clear throughout the night. In fact, there is another form of treatment — oral sleep appliances.
Align Orthodontics offers oral appliances designed to combat snoring and sleep apnea. These custom-made devices keep your airway open and reduce or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Majznerski is not just an expert with oral sleep appliances. He’s also a longtime sleep apnea patient, and he’s tested such devices himself over the years.
Sleep apnea can be a danger to overall health. If you suspect you may have it, contact Align Orthodontics or request an evaluation online. We provide sleep apnea solutions throughout Grand Rapids, MI, and the West Michigan area. Let us see what we can do to help you improve your health and get a good night’s sleep!