Are you confused about sleep apnea? Have friends or relatives shared contradictory information on this common condition? As Dr. Sam Carroll knows, many patients have trouble separating sleep apnea myth from fact. To help you understand more about sleep apnea, we examined a few popular misconceptions and outlined as many realities.
Think you might have a sleep disorder? Call us at (928) 344-1060 to arrange for a consultation with Dr. Carroll at our practice in Yuma, AZ.
Fact: Sleep apnea can occur in anyone.
As with all medical conditions, some people are more likely than others to be diagnosed. For instance, individuals who are male, overweight, smokers, or older are statistically at greater risk. The same is true for those who have narrow airways, large tonsils, and family histories of sleep disorders. However, sleep apnea can still occur in people from any population, including children and teenagers.
Myth: There is one type of sleep apnea.
Actually, there are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where the diagnosed individual stops breathing for several seconds up to 30 times per hour, is the most frequently seen. Another type is central sleep apnea. If you have central sleep apnea, your brain does not properly tell the body to breathe while you are at sleep. Central sleep apnea can be especially dangerous. Fortunately, it is much rarer than obstructive sleep apnea.
The third type of sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central varities. Work with your dentist to determine which type, if any, you may have.
Fact: Dentists can help people with sleep apnea in Yuma, AZ.
Why does a dentist focus on helping patients with sleep apnea? Essentially, he can often reduce sleep apnea nighttime events, allowing people to get better rest and improve their health. Dr. Carroll offers numerous behavioral and oral therapy treatments personalized to fit the individual’s unique situation.
Myth: Individuals with sleep apnea know they have the condition.
You might assume that you would realize your body stopped breathing hundreds of times a night. Yet this is highly unlikely. Each obstructed breathing event spans a few seconds, ending with a loud snore, snort, or gasp. However, you will not fully awaken during most events. For this reason, undergoing a non-invasive, easy-to-use at-home sleep test is necessary to determine if sleep apnea could be an issue.
Fact: CPAP machines only one form of treatment.
Have you heard that you will have to use a CPAP machine to reduce sleep apnea events? While CPAP machines are frequently prescribed for those diagnosed with sleep apnea, they are not the only treatment options. Dentists regularly work with laboratories to create custom-fitted oral appliances that look like nightguards. These appliances are worn during sleep and help the air move freely in and out of the body. In addition, many dentists suggest occlusal adjustments, an efficient procedure to ensure a more natural fit between the upper and lower molars.
Many individuals with sleep apnea can expect to rely on more than one type of treatment depending upon the severity of their condition.
Myth: Sleep apnea does not respond to behavioral changes.
Although you cannot necessarily get rid of your sleep apnea by changing your habits, you can sometimes significantly the number of nighttime obstructed breathing events you experience. Quitting smoking and losing weight are two changes that are likely to have noticeable effects on the frequency and intensity of sleep apnea episodes.
Fact: Sleep apnea affects more than just sleeping hours.
Sleep apnea events happen when you are at rest, but the disorder’s effects carry on throughout the day. Over time, lack of sleep can produce many unwanted physical, systemic, and emotional outcomes, including severe sleep deprivation, memory loss, personality changes, difficulty concentrating, headaches, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and irritability. The sooner you get your sleep apnea under control, the better you will feel.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment in Yuma, AZ
Want to learn more about sleep apnea or get tested by a dentist in Yuma, AZ? Contact Yuma Smiles at (928) 344-1060 to set up your initial evaluation.