Sleep apnea in San Antonio is one of our area’s most common, and most serious, health issues. Left untreated, it can contribute to many types of problems, including diabetes, heart disease and even dementia. You should seek medical help right away if you’re suffering from apnea symptoms. A sleep dentist in San Antonio can diagnose the condition and prescribe effective solutions.
What Is Sleep Apnea and How Can It Harm Me?
Your body needs a constant supply of oxygen in order to keep functioning. Even a temporary interruption in your breathing process can cause irreversible brain damage. That’s exactly what happens to people who suffer from sleep apnea. The soft tissues in their mouth and throat collapse, cutting off their supply of air.
If this happens to you, then you may wake up hundreds of times during the night to clear your airway, usually with no memory of the event. This makes getting adequate rest impossible and puts you at heightened risk for health problems such as these:
- Heart disease and stroke. Sleep apnea leads to hypertension, which puts severe stress on your cardiovascular system.
- Type II diabetes. Researchers have found a clear link between sleep apnea and added risk of diabetic symptoms.
- Anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep hinders your brain’s ability to regulate your emotions. This makes you more likely to feel anxious or despondent.
- Apnea-related fatigue discourages sufferers from engaging in physical activity. This, combined with poor dietary choices, can lead to weight gain.
- Loneliness and social isolation. People with apnea have less energy and more nervous tension, two factors that can harm your interpersonal relationships.
- Physical injury. Those who suffer from sleep apnea wander through life in a sort of semi-conscious fog. It’s easy to see how this could impede their ability to drive, operate machinery or avoid common accidents.
- Your brain cells are vulnerable to even short periods of oxygen deprivation. Sleep apnea can cause a cumulative effect that leads to Alzheimer-like symptoms.
How Can a Sleep Dentist Help Me?
Dentists who are trained in sleep medicine can treat apnea in many ways. These include:
- Ordering a sleep study. During this procedure, you spend the night in a comfortable, residential-like setting while health experts monitor your vital signs. This is the primary tool used to diagnose cases of sleep apnea.
- Prescribe a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for nighttime use. This product uses gentle air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep.
- Fit you for an anti-apnea mouthguard. These devices work by either holding your lower jaw in place or preventing your tongue from blocking your airway during rest.
- Perform corrective surgery. This procedure removes excess tissue in your mouth and throat, promoting uninterrupted breathing while you sleep.
Sleep apnea is much too serious to ignore. See your regular physician or sleep dentist in San Antonio if you’re suffering from any of the symptoms described above. You have nothing to lose and a world of restful benefits to gain.
About the Author
Dr. S. Jade Wylie studied dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She has also obtained advanced certification in sedation dentistry and Invisalign therapy. You can reach her office online or by calling (210) 804-1558.