At Hart Dental, we focus on much more than just dental health; we focus on whole health, as well. One of our passions is helping those who are afflicted with sleep apnea. While some believe that apnea is simply a snoring disorder, it is far more than that. A recent New York Times article addresses the specific dangers of this potentially deadly disease. Here are just a few highlights:
- The volume of your snoring could be indicative of a problem. Known as “heroic snoring,” loud snores — the kind that can be heard through walls — can be a sign of sleep apnea. That is not to say that those with softer snores are not at risk; to the contrary, they are less often to be aware that there is a problem in the first place. Regardless of how loudly you snore, if you have sleep apnea, you are not receiving the oxygen your body needs to remain healthy.
- Not only is sleep apnea linked to an increased risk of heart attack, strokes, mood disorders, and diabetes, it’s also responsible for scores of deaths, injuries, and property damage that result from sleep deprivation. Drivers with sleep apnea — including cargo and public transit drivers — are five times more likely to be involved in accidents. This makes sleep apnea a public safety issue.
- Those with sleep apnea often go undiagnosed. This makes sense, given that apnea occurs during sleep; if you don’t have a sleeping partner who is aware of your snoring, there is no way for you to know there is a potential problem. After all, daytime drowsiness can be explained by other health conditions. Additionally, because professional drivers fear for their jobs, they may intentionally fail to report symptoms.
- Being diagnosed with sleep apnea requires a sleep study. While this can be done either in a lab or in the comfort of your own bed, the idea of going to sleep with wires taped to your body may be off-putting. Those who suspect they have apnea may seek alternative treatments such as nasal strips snore guards instead of addressing the condition with a medical professional.
- Sleep apnea treatment in and of itself can be a deterrent. Many people have misconceptions about the best-known sleep apnea treatment, the CPAP machine. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is highly effective and has transformed from a monstrosity reminiscent of dystopian societies to a small, portable, and even noiseless machine. Some people find success with a customized dental appliance that repositions the jaw, tongue, and airway during sleep, allowing them to breathe freely. The point? There are several ways to treat apnea; they only way to learn what works is to seek treatment.
Here’s the thing: Treating sleep apnea can vastly improve your quality of life. With the proper amount of sleep, the body can more easily do what it is intended to do. No more struggling to stay awake during the day, no more wondering why your blood pressure is high, no more irritability from sleep deprivation, no more keeping your partner awake with your snoring. When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to care for your loved ones. If you’re ready to put yourself somewhere on your priority list, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve patients in Mitchell, South Dakota, and the surrounding areas.