Causes and Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects more than 12 million Americans. Although there are specific symptoms that can lead to a proper professional diagnosis, sleep apnea is in fact difficult to self-diagnose and can go undetected for years. Often, it is the partner of an individual with sleep apnea that brings attention to the condition. At our Staten Island dental practice, education plays an important role in helping patients better identify the warning signs and know when to seek treatment.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Unlike other health conditions that have a single cause, obstructive sleep apnea may be caused for a variety of reasons, ranging from family history to obesity. However, there are certain behavioral and health factors that increase the likelihood of developing a sleep disorder. These factors include:
- Enlarged neck, tongue, or tonsils
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
Although the risk of developing sleep apnea may be prevented, it’s important to note that your chances increase if you have a family history of sleep apnea.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
When a person lives with sleep apnea, their quality of life and ability to complete the most basic daily functions becomes compromised. Therefore, it’s very important to pay close attention to changes in mood, energy level, and health in order to help in the detection of those warning signs.
Although snoring is a symptom commonly associated with sleep apnea, it may not always be caused by the condition. Generalized snoring is an inconvenient yet common condition that can be caused by a number of other issues, ranging from allergies to a deviated septum. In comparison, raucous snoring is one of the most recognizable signs of sleep apnea due to the struggle of inhaling and exhaling during sleep. These deep, noisy snorts can sometimes sound like choking noises and occur when collapsed tissue blocks the airway.
When a person experiences difficulty breathing throughout the night, it often leads to sleep apnea symptoms including:
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Grogginess/drowsiness throughout the day
- Morning headaches
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Night sweating
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
If you find that you or your partner are showing any of the symptoms above, contact our Staten Island dentist at Melvin H. Pearson DDS, PC. Our skilled dentist will evaluate your case and guide you towards the personalized treatment that is best for your condition.