Sleep apnea is a common and potentially serious sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It occurs when there are repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage in your upper airway during sleep. While this is occurring, your diaphragm and chest muscles are working hard to open your obstructed airway and pull air into your lungs. This can decrease the flow of oxygen to your vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.
It can be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most noticeable symptoms occur while you’re sleeping. A family member or partner may notice signs or symptoms of your sleeping disorder first. The signs and symptoms they may notice are the pauses while snoring, following by a gasping or chocking noise. Some signs of sleep apnea you may notice may be trouble concentrating and fighting sleepiness during the day, at work or while operating a vehicle. Sometimes you may even catch yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiets times of your day when you’re not being active.
More Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Include:
- Headaches upon waking up
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory or learning problems
- Feeling depressed, irritable or having mood swings/ personality changes
- Waking up frequently to use bathroom
- Dry mouth or sore through upon waking up
What You Can Do:
Sleep Apnea is more common in men than women. In order to diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor will have to perform a physical exam and take your medical and sleep history. Your doctor may ask your family members or the individuals that live with you about your sleeping habits.
Dr. Driscoll and Dr. Tolu will design an oral appliance to be worn while you sleep. This appliance will assist in keeping your airway open so you do not stop breathing. The mouth piece will be customized for you and will comfortably reposition the structures of your mouth allowing for uninterrupted sleep.
If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Driscoll or Dr. Tolu to schedule a consult today.