Sleep apnoea can be dangerous for your health. If you are snoring, waking up tired, experiencing dry mouth, dry throat, excessive daytime sleepiness, weight gain or one of a dozen other symptoms you may have sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea – 10 Signs and Symptoms
If you have a combination of these 10 signs and symptoms, it is highly advisable you see a dentist or other qualified health professional.
The 10 signs and symptoms:
- You wake up abruptly, experiencing shortness of breath.
- Your partner says not only that you snore loudly but that sometimes you stop breathing while you’re asleep.
- You’re irritable and experience mood swings.
- More often than not you wake up with headaches.
- You sometimes wake up gasping or choking.
- You have memory issues as well as finding it difficult to concentrate and pay attention.
- You have difficulty sleeping.
- You are very tired during the day.
- You have some of the risks factors such as smoking tobacco, drinking and are overweight or obese.
- You experience dry mouth and/or a sore throat when you wake up.
It should be kept in mind that this is not a comprehensive list. Your age, weight, and lifestyle all play a role in diagnosis. However, this list is a good general overview of the most common signs and symptoms for people of all ages.
Signs of sleep apnoea in children
Sleep apnoea in children is often misdiagnosed as ADD. This is because it can cause:
- Lack of concentration
- Poor attentiveness
- Frustration, irritability, and crankiness
These signs and symptoms, along with snoring, poor sleep and fatigue, could indicate your child has sleep apnoea rather than ADD (or ADHD).
When it’s time to visit a healthcare professional
If you are exhibiting any of the warning signs, even if it’s only a handful of the symptoms, you should visit a healthcare professional.
If it does seem likely that your symptoms are indicative of sleep apnoea, you may require a sleep study. This should be able to determine whether or not you have the condition, and to what extent.
There are three types
- Central sleep apnoea (CSA)
- Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
- Mixed sleep apnoea (both central and obstructive)
CSA is when your brain doesn’t send signals to the muscles to take a breath.
OSA is when your brain does send the signal but the muscles are unsuccessful in taking a breath. This is because the airways become obstructed preventing an adequate flow of air.
After being diagnosed with sleep apnoea you can see a dental professional to discuss some of your treatment options. At Bite Dental, Dr Julia helps patients experiencing sleep apnoea.
Diagnosis and treatment of OSA
A sleep study is most often used for patients suspected of having OSA. The sleep study tests different physiological and physical parameters while you sleep. The parameters include your brain waves, eye movements, muscle activity, nasal and oral airflow, how loudly you snore, and your blood oxygen levels.
This data is then collected and assessed by a specialist. They will then be able to tell the extent of the sleep apnoea and what the best course of treatment is.
Treatment for OSA
The CPAP machine and a dental mouthguard are two viable options for treating OSA. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is a mask or nose piece that delivers constant and steady air pressure.
This helps sufferers breathe normally while they sleep. And while this is an effective treatment method, some patients find it difficult to sleep with a mask on.
An alternative treatment is a type of dental mouthguard known as a mandibular advancement device (MAD). This is not the same type of mouthguard used for sports of the prevention of bruxism.
The Mandibular advancement device looks like a regular mouthguard and is designed to push your lower jaw and tongue forward to keep your airway open.
The type—and severity—of your sleep apnoea will determine what is the best treatment option. The only way to know for sure is to book a consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.
Bite Dental is now offering a one-hour consultation with Dr Julia Moldavtsev determine treatment options for patients suffering from sleep apnoea. During this appointment you will speak with Dr Julia to determine your candidacy for different treatment options, you may also be able to have impressions and measurements taken during the appointment.
Sleep Apnoea FAQs
There is little evidence to suggest that day to day stress is a causative factor for sleep apnea. Some studies have shown a correlation between PTSD and sleep apnea. The common risk factors for sleep apnea include smoking, alcohol consumption and being overweight.
Sleep Apnea affects the brain negatively in many ways – primarily through oxygen deprivation which can damage the brain irreversibly. The damage to the cardiovascular system from stopping breathing will amplify damage caused to the brain. Sleep deprivation will also negatively affect the brain – especially if it goes on for any length of time. It is important to see a health professional if you suspect you have sleep apnea.
There is no cure for sleep apnea – only management options. Modifying ifestyle choices that reduce risk factors such as smoking, alcohol dependence and obesity will reduce the severity of sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea is managed by an airway system called a CPAP machine, which stops the airway from constricting while providing air mechanically.
It is unlikely that sleep apnea will go away entirely – even with lifestyle modification.
There is strong evidence suggesting that sleep apnea can cause cardiac conditions such as angina and arrythmia. Cardiac events are much more likely in those with unmanaged sleep apnea.
The severity of sleep apnea can vary – especially if lifestyle modification is utilised. Reducing alcohol intake, quiting smoking and regular exercise have been shown to lessen the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
Massage may indirectly assist as sleep deprivation leads to muscular tension. Remedial Massage may assist with muscular tension associated with sleep apnea and relieve symptoms of headaches also associated with sleep apnea.
There is a strong association between high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Many of the risk factors for sleep apnea cause high blood pressure and the cardio vascular system is further damaged by uncontrolled sleep apnea