What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects the way you breathe during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea cause one's breathing to become very shallow at times, typically lasting between 20-30 seconds. These pauses can occur hundreds of time throughout the night, causing you to jolt, even choke and gasp following the pause and distress your normal sleeping rhythm.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Me?
When your breathing becomes shallow and you jolt out of deep sleep, your natural sleep rhythm becomes affected. The result is less time in deep sleep. When you don't have enough deep sleep, you'll find yourself groggy and tired, lacking concentration throughout the day. If you wonder, "why am I always tired?" It could be from sleep apnea!
Is Sleep Deprivation Harmful To My Health?
Sleep deprivation doesn't always mean you didn't go to be early enough. Interrupted sleep, caused by sleeping disorders also deprives you of the important deep sleep your body needs. Sleep studies have linked lack of sleep to some very serious medical conditions. High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, headaches and migraines, heartburn and acid reflux, all increase in risk without proper sleep.
Why Do I Snore?
Snoring is caused by vibrating structures in the upper airway of your throat, generally during inhalation. When you sleep your muscles will relax, and for some, certain membranous parts of the airway will obstruct the airflow, resulting in a turbulent vibratory noise.
How Do I Stop Snoring?
Sleep apnea and snoring are related, but not all of the time. If you're snoring isn't a product of sleep apnea, healthy lifestyle changes will help. Try to lose some weight and exercise daily while avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills. If you already do those, or if you have sleep apnea, a professional level of treatment may be required. Dr. Hedgecock is a trained specialist that can diagnose and assist your battle against sleep disorders. A good nights rest will be the result!
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
No two people are alike, so the treatments needed for each person can be drastically different. That being said, two common treatments are CPAP Therapy and Oral Appliance Therapy. A consultation with Dr. Hedgecock will determine which is best for you and your lifestyle.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When the muscles in the back of your through relax, your airway will become narrow as you breathe in, resulting in an inadequate amount of breath upon inhalation. When this happens, your brain senses the inability to breathe and lack of oxygen, causing you to rouse from sleep and reopen the airway. You may also make a choking or gasping sound, potentially startling anyone around you.
What Is Central Sleep Apnea?
Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when your breathing muscles fail to receive the signals transmitting from your brain, telling them to inhale. You may wake up with a shortness of breath or have trouble falling asleep.
What Is CPAP Therapy?
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine will reduce the affects that sleep apnea has on your sleep by preventing the soft tissues in the back of your throat from blocking airflow into your lungs. The CPAP machine regulates your breathing so you can take deep, and uninterrupted breaths all night long.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of your throat become too relaxed and blocks the airflow into your lungs. With oral appliance therapy, Dr. Hedgecock will fit you with a special mouthpiece that will gently hold your lower jaw forward, opening up the airflow again.