Discover the effects of sleep apnea and find a solution for sleep apnea in Clearwater, FL
Your oral and overall health are connected. If there is an issue or concern in your mouth, it can affect the rest of your body. Sleep apnea is one of those conditions. When the tissues of the throat affect your breathing and sleeping patterns, your brain and body are impacted. In Clearwater, FL, the team at Natural Dentistry offers comprehensive natural dentistry including a solution for sleep apnea to improve patients’ sleep and quality of life.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. Although there are three main types, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. In this form, a blockage often develops when the soft tissue collapses while the patient is sleeping. This blockage may partially or completely disrupt airflow. This causes disrupted or uncomfortable sleep. With the airway blocked, there are pauses or breaks in breathing. These pauses may last more than ten seconds at a time and may occur multiple times per hour. Sleep apnea is more commonly found in adults, but it can affect patients of all ages.
When the blockages cause breathing pauses, patients do not get enough oxygen. This means the body must work harder to get air into the lungs. Sensing a problem, the brain sends out adrenaline. This causes a jumpstart in breathing that can be heard as snorting, choking, or snoring. The cycle of stops and starts repeats numerous times disrupting the individual’s sleep. Patients often wake up groggy from not getting a full night’s sleep.
Effects of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea affects the whole body. Left untreated, the condition increases the likelihood of health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Patients with sleep apnea may experience:
- Problems concentrating
- Memory problems
- Tiredness throughout the day
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Feeling moody or depressed
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Sleep apnea is associated with repeated drops in blood oxygen levels. This affects various organs of the body, including the brain. Sleep is interrupted causing the patient to be tired and grumpy during the day. However, breathing pauses also deprive the brain of proper oxygen. Sleep apnea has been linked to the following brain problems:
- Memory loss – Sleep apnea has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s. The low oxygen levels during sleep may negatively impact areas such as the hippocampus where Alzheimer’s is thought to start.
- Migraines – Migraines are debilitating. Sleep apnea migraines begin at night as part of the body’s response to sleep deprivation and lack of oxygen. Once the sleep apnea is under control, the migraines should lessen or subside.
- Dizziness – Morning dizziness often occurs due to a lack of oxygen at night. Moving from lying down to a standing position can cause dizziness. Dizziness makes it more challenging to complete daily tasks.
Solution for sleep apnea
Patients who have sleep apnea symptoms should consult their physicians for a proper diagnosis. Often, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is recommended. A CPAP machine uses a mask and forced air pressure to keep the airway open helping the patient breathe while sleeping. The continuous flow of air keeps the airway open so that it does not collapse. CPAP machines offer different mask options. Patients may choose from a mask that fits the nose and mouth, only the nose, or prongs that fit the nose.
As an alternative therapy, some patients may be candidates for oral appliances. Mouthguards can effectively treat sleep apnea and other oral issues by keeping the jaw in the proper position and the airway open. Worn while sleeping, this helps patients breathe more freely. The Pure Power Mouthguard follows the principles of neuromuscular dentistry to keep the jaw properly balanced and aligned. With the lower jaw balanced, the muscles and nerves balance properly. The process is customized for patients to find the best position for the jaw. Impressions of the patient’s teeth are used to create the custom mouthguard. Generally, when the jaw is pushed down and forward, tension is released from the face, neck, and shoulders. This allows the airway to open improving oxygen flow.