How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects a person’s breathing during sleep. A person who suffers from sleep apnea has pauses (called an apnea) in breathing which can last for seconds or even minutes, making it difficult to get the deep sleep necessary for a full night’s rest. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious problems with your health including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and weight gain.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: the most common form of sleep apnea where your airway is blocked by the soft tissue in the back area of your throat.
  • Central sleep apnea: a rare and more dangerous form of sleep apnea where your brain doesn’t tell the muscles that you use to breathe the right signals.
  • Complex sleep apnea: both obstructive and central sleep apneas put together.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

A lot of people snore, but not everyone that snores has sleep apnea. Usually a sign that your problem is more serious is if you choke or gasp continuously while sleeping. You may also feel fatigued for most of the day even if you went to bed at a decent hour. Some other common symptoms are headaches, difficulty concentrating, unstable moods, waking up often during the night, or waking up with a dry or sore mouth.

The only way to truly know if you have sleep apnea is if you see your physician and be properly diagnosed through an overnight sleep study. If you see any warning signs, you should contact your physician immediately to get treatment as soon as possible.

Luckily, milder forms of sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy techniques from your dentist. Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care in New Fairfield, CT specializes in treating sleep apnea for those who are intolerant or looking for alternatives for CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines. Instead of having patients wear masks attached to a pump that flows air into their airways, Dr. Burio uses Mandibular advancement devices that are attached to your mandible or lower jaw to prevent the collapse of tissue and closure of the airway while you sleep. If you have any questions or are looking to treat your mild sleep apnea, please call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.