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When you notice that yourself or a loved one has a regular habit of snoring while sleeping, how do you determine if it is a more serious sleeping disorder, rather than just an annoying habit?  If you notice other signs or symptoms it may be time to see your local dentist or doctor to determine if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted while sleeping. If it is left untreated, a person may potentially stop breathing hundreds of times throughout the night, which results in the brain and the rest of the body not receiving enough oxygen.

There are two types of sleep apnea called obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea.  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common and occurs when there is a blockage in the airway when soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses while you are sleeping.  The second type of sleep apnea, called central sleep apnea is more serious and has overlapping symptoms with OSA which may make diagnosis of the type of sleep apnea more difficult. If you are worried that you or your loved one may have sleep apnea, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for that include:

  • Loud and pronounced snoring, which is more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
  • Interrupted breathing witnessed by another individual while you are sleeping.
  • Abrupt awakenings followed by a shortness of breath, which may be a sign of central sleep apnea
  • Feeling tired during the day due to lack of sleep and being able to reach all of your sleep cycles
  • Inability to fall asleep on a consistent basis, also known as insomnia
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day due to lack of sleep (hypersomnia) which can lead to such mood disorders such as anxiety or depression or inability to stay focused during the day
  • Waking up with dry lips or mouth and a sore throat
  • Migraine like headaches that usually occur in the morning
  • Restless sleep at night which is characterized by tossing and turning while trying to sleep

When to see a medical professional

You should consider a visit to dentist or other medical professional if you experience or your partner notices any of the above symptoms. Our dental staff at Old Mt. Pleasant Dentistry have years of experience in helping to diagnose and treat individuals who have sleep apnea. Please contact our office today for an appointment if you are concerned that you may have sleep apnea. Our dental team is here to help develop a treatment plan that is right for you.  Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com.

Source: Diseases and conditions: Sleep Apnea, by Mayo Clinic Staff (mayclinic.org)