Do you or your partner suffer through the night with loud snoring?
Snoring can be caused by a wide range of factors, from blocked airways due to illness to lost muscle tone in the throat due to aging. However, consistent snoring and waking up feeling as if you hardly slept at all can be the sign of an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. As awareness of this growing health concern has increased, more patients are being successfully diagnosed and treated for a greatly improved quality of life. Louisville dentist Dr. Tracey Hughes works with patients to evaluate both oral and overall health to determine the cause of snoring or other related symptoms.
There are two main types of sleep apnea, central and obstructive (OSA). The latter has been widely recognized as a growing health concern, especially for those at greater risk due to a genetic or lifestyle predisposition for this type of sleep disorder. Understanding your risk and the common signs of OSA can play an important role in proper diagnosis and treatment to avoid associated health risks.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Anyone can develop a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, including young children. However, there are certain factors that greatly increase your risk and affect your overall health:
- Males, especially over the age of 50
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a large neck circumference
- Smokers and those using tobacco
- Being diabetic or having high blood pressure
In addition to exacerbating existing health issues such as hypertension and diabetes, sleep apnea also increases your risk for:
- Heart Attack
- Chronic Acid Reflux (Dr. Hughes can easily see indications of this during her examination with people due to the harmful effects of acid on teeth)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Death (Judge Scalia and Reggie White (age 43) both died of sleep apnea)
Dr. Hughes can help you restore your health and reduce risks associated with OSA. The first step is a visit with us at Boulder Valley Dental Center in Louisville, CO.
CPAP Alternatives for Sleep Apnea
Treatment for sleep apnea, or OSA, has traditionally been the CPAP machine. While highly effective at treating sleep apnea, patients are less likely to use it consistently due to the inconvenience and discomfort of the machine.
Dr. Hughes offers a comfortable, more discreet alternative to the CPAP that fits like a mouth guard. Oral appliance therapy can effectively treat mild to moderate sleep apnea with a convenient, portable and easy to wear device that repositions the jaw and the tongue to prevent the collapse of soft tissue at the back of the throat- the cause of your snoring and sleep apnea. Patients can consume fluids and speak while wearing the device.
Oral appliance therapy enjoys much greater compliance among patients and can reduce both symptoms and associated health risks with consistent use.
Common Signs of OSA
Recognizing both risk factors and the common signs of OSA may be life saving. These include:
- Snoring or gasping for air
- Feeling sleepy or drowsy during the day
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Moodiness and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
If you consistently experience any of these common symptoms, come in for a consultation with Dr. Hughes. She will work with you to fully evaluate your symptoms and your sleep to determine if you have a sleep disorder and recommend appropriate treatment.
Schedule A Consultation
If you or a loved one is snoring or suffering from any of the common signs of sleep apnea, schedule a visit with Dr. Hughes at Boulder Valley Dental Center. We welcome new patients and Dr. Hughes has built a professional reputation on personalized dental care for your oral and overall health needs. Contact us at 303-732-5388 or request an appointment online.