Has your significant other ever caught you snoring? Have you been waking up in the middle of the night more frequently? Can you just not seem to get enough sleep? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it’s possible you have sleep apnea, and should speak with your doctor as soon as you can. Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep disorder which is characterized by repeated pauses during the body’s sleep cycle. Though our body naturally pauses in breathing 0-4 times every hour, sleep apnea occurs more frequently, enough to begin affecting the body’s blood-oxygen levels. If left untreated, sleep apnea can significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

If you’re concerned about possibly having sleep apnea, pay attention to these 3 signs.

woman with headache having a hard time waking up in the morning

The Loud Sleeper

The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring or repeatedly gasping for air during the middle of the night. Although not all snoring means sleep apnea, often the two are associated with one another because snoring generally signifies some sort of airway obstruction. The louder and longer snoring goes on, the more likely that it signifies sleep apnea. If you don’t sleep with a partner who can can recognize snoring, there are several apps out there that can record any sounds made while you’re asleep. What’s also helpful is recognizing the other symptoms.

The Restless Sleeper

If you live alone, sleep apnea can be difficult to self-diagnose, but another symptom can be restless or “fitful” sleep. If you find yourself thrashing around in bed enough to wake yourself up, or frequently get up to urinate during the night, both of these could be signs of sleep apnea. Alternatively, so is being constantly tired regardless of the number of hours slept. Because sleep apnea can lower your blood-oxygen levels, lowering your quality of sleep, those affected by sleep apnea often find themselves tired in the morning regardless of how much they’ve slept.

Chronic Illnesses

Another sign that you might have sleep apnea is that you’ve been diagnosed with numerous chronic illnesses. Some of these are associated with sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or gout. Others may be related to sleep apnea, or may be a misdiagnosis of your symptoms. Low testosterone, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, and depression are sometimes just the effects of sleep apnea.

If you have been diagnosed with these illnesses, you should also talk to your doctor about sleep apnea.

Do You Fit the Bill?

Although there is no medical category that fits every patient, there are a few factors that can predispose patients to sleep apnea. These include, being overweight, smoking, inactive lifestyle, going through menopause, and having a family member with sleep apnea.The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA, which is caused by certain blockages in the airways while sleeping. So while being overweight can increase your likelihood of sleep apnea, many cases involving OSA are triggered by the size of a patient’s tongue, the shape of a patient’s neck, and the angle at which someone sleeps.

If you believe you may have sleep apnea, you should speak with your doctor. If you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then your dentist can help by providing a range of drug-free treatments. This can include a custom-made mouth piece designed to keep your airways open during sleep.

If you would like to learn whether you qualify for this convenient and simple snoring and sleep apnea treatment, please call (910) 392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.