The Dangerous Truth About Sleep Apnea

Snoring or tossing and turning at night is harmless, right? That’s a question we often hear from some of the older patients who visit our Fredericksburg, Virginia dental office. Snoring is a common problem in many adults, BUT it’s not necessarily harmless. Snoring can be a sign of something more serious: sleep apnea.

Our doctors, Lloyd F. Moss Jr. and Lloyd F. Moss III, are skilled at diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. We have put so much time into training and treating sleep apnea because, if left untreated, this problem can become an overall health crisis. What’s worse is that some people may not even realize they have a problem!

If you have issues sleeping or have been told you snore, give us a call today at (540) 373-2080.

The Problem With Sleep Apnea

Many people with sleep apnea often snore loudly or gasp for air, and that’s because sleep apnea occurs when you experience pauses in breathing while you sleep. People with severe sleep apnea often experience as many as 30 pauses in breathing in a single hour. So, essentially these people stop breathing hundreds of times in a single night.

That’s a serious problem because it puts a great deal of stress on your body. Your blood pressure often shoots up to make sure your vital organs are receiving proper blood flow. This constant stress on your body can increase your risk for problems like stroke and heart disease. Additionally, sleep apnea can be deadly! You can stop breathing during sleep for good. Google NFL great Reggie White. He died from sleep apnea complications at the age of 43.

More than 20 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. There are two kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs whenever the soft tissues blocks the airway during sleep. Central sleep apnea is much more complicated in that it occurs whenever the brain fails to send signals for you to breathe while you sleep.

In many cases, a person’s bed partner tips them off about their sleep problems, but here are a few other signs you can look for:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Falling asleep throughout the day (even while driving)
  • Frequent headaches
  • Mood swings or irritability

Who’s at Risk of Sleep Apnea? — Anyone can have sleep apnea, even though men and woman over the age of 40 or overweight are at the highest risk. People with larger neck sizes are also at a higher risk of sleep apnea. Some people even suffer from a narrow airway or even if you have a family history of sleep apnea.

Treating Sleep Apnea With Gentle Treatments

The gold standard of sleep apnea treatment remains the CPAP. You’ve probably heard about the CPAP machine. It is a multi-part device that uses a machine and hose to constantly push air into the lungs. The problem with the CPAP is that patients often find uncomfortable or their bed partners hate it, and people stop using the CPAP altogether. Studies have found that patients with a CPAP only wear the device about 50 percent of the time. That’s not a great compliance rate.

Of course, you want to offer treatments that are comfortable and effective. So we have snoring appliances and sleep apnea appliances that are comfortable. These small appliances work by moving the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open while you sleep. These comfortable appliances resemble a mouthguard, and they will never interrupt your sleep or your bed partner’s sleep. And, you can travel with them anywhere.

Visit our office for better sleep

Sleep is an important part of your life. When you come to our office for your sleep treatments, you’ll be in the hands of a caring and experienced staff. With our sleep apnea treatments, you’ll achieve a more restful night’s sleep. So give us a call today at (540) 373-2080 or use the online form to book a visit.