Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder which is more dangerous than many people realise. Although there is more than one type, the most common form of sleep apnea is OSA or obstructive sleep apnea.
Symptoms that may suggest that you or your partner have obstructive sleep apnea include:
• Loud snoring
• Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
• Excessive sleepiness during the day
• Morning headache
• Abrupt awakenings followed by a snort or gasp
• Difficulty in concentrating
• High blood pressure
• Observed episodes of breathing having stopped during sleeping
• Mood changes such as depression or irritability
• Decreased libido
• Night time sweating
If obstructive sleep apnea is ignored then patients have an increased chance of developing a number of medical conditions, such as
• Irregular heartbeats
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
In fact, scientific evidence points to the fact that a person suffering from moderate to severe sleep apnea has an increased risk of dying from one of the above mentioned medical conditions.
Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause accidents in the workplace or when driving due to a person feeling extremely sleepy during the day, which in turn impacts on their memory and concentration.
• Male gender
• Menopausal woman
• Over 40
• High pressure
• Heart condition
• Family history of OSA
• Alcohol, tranquiliser, or sedative use
• Abnormalities of upper airways
Sleep apnea is very common in Australia with as many as 1.2 million sufferers according to the National Institute of Health. Fortunately it can be treated by a team of experts including your Melbourne dentist. If you are having problems sleeping and we suspect sleep apnea problems we’ll recommend you to a specialist GP. Normally they will commission a sleep study. After testing, once an initial diagnosis is confirmed, and based on their findings, we’ll work closely with them to create an appliance which will help treat your condition.
It some cases, it may be that you simply need to quit smoking, lose weight or reduce your alcohol consumption to cure any sleep apnea issues. Alternatively we may be asked to create a mouth splint for sleep.
This has the effect of gently pushing the lower jaw forward to prevent the tongue from blocking the airways. Devices such as these are easy and comfortable to wear and can help avoid surgery. We recommend and use clinically proven devices from SomnoMed where 91% of patients say they have improved their sleep quality.
A permanent solution to obstructive sleep apnea is surgery which involves sectioning the lower jaw in order to pull the bone holding the tongue slightly forwards. It’s a simple procedure which comes with a high success rate
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