Jun 5, 2017

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Sleep Apnea Symptoms You Didn’t Know About

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You’ve heard of sleep apnea—a chronic sleep condition in which patients stop breathing at numerous points during the night. Although this condition is more likely to affect those who are overweight or smoke, sleep apnea can affect anyone.

At Carpathian Dental, we’re familiar with many different symptoms of sleep apnea. Common symptoms include loud snoring, daytime fatigue, and insomnia. While many patients are familiar with these signs of sleep apnea, there are other, less common symptoms that people experience.

Since sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can shorten your lifespan, it’s important to be aware of all of the symptoms of this disorder. The following are some sleep apnea symptoms you may not know about, as well as how to get help for sleep apnea with Dr. Bucker at Carpathian Dental.

Feeling Depressed

Sleep apnea has been linked to depression through numerous studies. The more a person wakes up in the night unable to breathe or the higher the frequency of snoring, the more the patient will report feeling hopeless or worthless.

Since a shared symptom of depression and sleep apnea is fatigue, physicians can help their patients by ruling out sleep apnea as a cause for their moodiness or depression. Sleep apnea can impact serotonin’s effect on brain, which may be what elevates the risk for depression in patients with this sleep disorder.

If you’ve been feeling depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor about your risk for sleep apnea. Dr. Bucker can also talk with you about your symptoms to determine if a sleep test is needed. Receiving treatment for your sleep apnea could help alleviate your depression symptoms!

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux)

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of sleep apnea, you could be at risk for developing acid reflux disease. This could happen for a couple different reasons.

First, obstructive sleep apnea causes the muscles in your airway to relax too much, which means your airway closes and you’ll be unable to breathe while sleeping. The pressure in your airway then changes, which could happen because you’re trying to breathe while the airway is collapsed. This could trigger acid reflux.

Secondly, acid reflux may back up into your esophagus and cause you to choke and wake up, which will lead to irregular sleep patterns and potentially sleep apnea. Although a causal relationship is still being established, acid reflux could be a sign that you have sleep apnea, and vice versa.

Fortunately, getting treatment for either acid reflux or sleep apnea seems to help the other condition, even if the second condition is not being treated. Sleep apnea and acid reflux also have overlapping risk factors, including being overweight and smoking.

Since acid reflux can be hugely damaging to your smile, it’s worth getting this checked out by Dr. Bucker to see if one could be causing your symptoms of the other!

Loss of Memory

One of the tasks your brain accomplishes while you’re asleep is categorizing information and storing new memories. When you experience frequently disrupted sleep, your memory may be affected though decreased oxygen.

When you can’t breathe properly during sleep, oxygen levels in your blood plummet. This means your brain isn’t getting the nourishment it needs to function properly. In fact, research shows that people who have sleep apnea were found to have cognitive impairment ten years sooner than people without the sleep disorder.

Your brain also isn’t able to detoxify itself without restful, deep sleep. This means toxins can accumulate in your brain and may negatively impact your cognitive health, including memory loss.

The Best Treatment Options

Although sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed by a sleep specialist, you can schedule an appointment with us at Carpathian Dental to talk with Dr. Bucker about your symptoms. Dr. Bucker can tell if you’re experiencing dry mouth or acid reflux, which both could be symptoms of sleep apnea.

Dr. Bucker can also refer you to a qualified sleep specialist in the area. Once you’ve done a sleep study with the specialist, you can find out if sleep apnea is affecting you. Fortunately, the treatment for sleep apnea is usually simple and can be done by your dentist. This is because for obstructive sleep apnea, an oral sleep appliance may be all that’s needed to help you breathe normally and sleep well again.

An oral sleep appliance is a simple device that fits easily into your mouth and positions your jaw to help keep your airway open. This treatment for sleep apnea can help alleviate your symptoms so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Schedule a Consultation

We invite you to schedule a consultation with us if you’re experiencing any of the common or uncommon symptoms of sleep apnea. Scheduling a simple exam gives you an opportunity to talk about what you’re experiencing and what you can do to counteract your symptoms.

Sleep apnea affects more than your slumber—from dental problems to cognitive disorders to increased risk for chronic disease, it’s worth getting a professional’s opinion on your symptoms!