Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects as many as 25 million people. Because it occurs during sleep, many people who have sleep apnea are completely unaware of it. Your loved one may clue you in by complaining about loud snoring, which keeps them up at night.
At Bucktown Wicker Park Dental in Chicago, Illinois, Melissa Daza, DDS, and Michelle Schwartz, DDS, offer custom dental appliances that keep your airway open to relieve sleep apnea.
Conventional sleep apnea treatment involves using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This treatment requires you to wear a mask at night connected to a machine that keeps the airway open by maintaining air flowing into your airway.
Many patients find CPAP treatment uncomfortable and inconvenient. Our custom-created dental appliances ease sleep apnea without masks or machines.
Sleep apnea can have a major effect on your health. Take a few moments to learn how untreated sleep apnea can negatively impact your health.
Sleep apnea overview
Obstructive sleep apnea develops when your airway is briefly blocked while sleeping. The blockage happens when the soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse.
You might first notice a problem if you often wake up gasping for air, or your loved one complains about loud snoring.
Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. Other common symptoms include:
- Problems concentrating
- Dry throat
While these symptoms can relate to a number of other underlying medical conditions, it’s important to speak with your family physician about testing for obstructive sleep apnea.
Who is likely to develop sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects both men and women but is more common in people who are overweight. Other factors that increase the likelihood of sleep apnea are the following:
- Large neck diameter
- Deviated septum
- Large tongue
- Large tonsils
- Small jawbone
Chronic allergies may also contribute to OSA when inflammation in your nasal passages makes it difficult to breathe while sleeping.
How sleep apnea affects your health
Untreated sleep apnea raises the risk for serious health problems. Brief pauses in your breathing during sleep repeatedly deprive your brain and body of oxygen. Over time, the repeated airflow interruptions raises the risk of:
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
Obstructive sleep apnea can also have an impact on your mental health, as the side effects of OSA boost the chances of developing depression and anxiety.
Untreated sleep apnea can impact your quality of life as well. Daytime tiredness or fatigue may cause you to miss out on activities you enjoy and interfere with your productivity at work or school.
Sleep quality is often dramatically affected. People with sleep apnea tend to wake up feeling unrefreshed in the morning and never seem to feel rested, even after a full night of sleep. Your body regulates important hormones and other chemicals while you’re sleeping.
Disrupted sleeping patterns can throw your hormones out of whack. It even increases your risk of weight gain due to disruptions in the regulation of certain metabolic hormones. Because many people with sleep apnea are already overweight, this is a double whammy.
Sleep apnea treatment without masks or machines
If you’re struggling with sleep apnea, or suspect that you may have it due to symptoms like daytime sleepiness or headaches, we can help.
Following a formal diagnosis, the Bucktown Wicker Park Dental team can create a custom-fitted dental appliance to keep your airway open while you sleep and effectively treat your sleep apnea.
Treating your sleep apnea reduces the risk of serious long-term health complications. To learn more about how we treat sleep apnea with customized dental devices, call or book online today to schedule a consultation with a Bucktown Wicker Park provider.