Do you frequently snore and/or feel more exhausted when you wake up than you did when you went to bed? The ramifications of poor sleep can be serious — or even fatal. Earlier in the summer, The Los Angeles Times reported that one of the causes of the death of Carrie Fisher, whom you know as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, was sleep apnea. The condition causes chronic snoring and interrupted sleep, and over a span of several years, sleep apnea in Longview can take a significant — or deadly — toll.
Bad Sleep Isn’t “Normal”
Many adults mistakenly believe that a diminishing quality of sleep is just a normal side effect of getting older, but that’s just not true. Everyone needs sufficient sleep to function well the next day.
And what about snoring in Longview? Yes, most of us snore from time to time — like when you have a cold or have had one too many nightcaps before bed. But when chronic snoring and tossing and turning take away from your quality of sleep night after night, you most likely have a real (and treatable!) issue on your hands.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissues of the mouth collapse during sleep to block the proper flow of air from the lungs to the brain. Without the oxygen it needs to function, the body sends out an emergency signal to wake up and resume breathing. A sleep apnea sufferer can have their rest interrupted hundreds of times per night.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
Watch out for the warning signs of OSA. Because the side effects are similar to those of other conditions, like depression, OSA is frequently misdiagnosed or ignored for years on end.
The symptoms of OSA include…
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Frequent waking or tossing and turning during sleep
- Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
- Confusion or difficulty completing everyday tasks
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
Often, it is not the OSA sufferer who recognizes the problem, as they may not remember the details of a night of fitful sleep. Rather, it is the (also sleepy) partner who realizes there is an issue. You can help your partner get the treatment they need so you can both sleep soundly again!
It’s Time to Wake Up — and Get Treatment
If you suspect you have a sleep breathing disorder, visiting a sleep apnea dentist can help you find relief. After you complete a take-home test that’s examined by a pulmonologist (breathing doctor), we can set you up with an oral appliance if a sleep apnea diagnosis is reached. It’s a device that you wear while you rest, and it works by repositioning the lower jaw to keep it from collapsing during the night. Oral appliance therapy is highly effective for many patients.
About the Authors
Dr. David Vaca and Dr. Chris Kirby are sleep apnea experts with decades of experience serving Longview friends and neighbors. To learn more about sleep apnea and its diagnosis or treatment, you are invited to contact your dentist in Longview at 903-663-0861.