One fact is that it may be disguised as symptoms of depression, fatigue, or other symptoms…

Do you notice yourself or your significant other tossing and turning, or snoring, or waking once or more in the middle of the night? It may be because of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), especially if any one of these things is happening on a regular basis. For many people, sleep apnea is to blame. It’s really so common it could surprise you. OSA is one of the most undiagnosed or recognized sleeping disorders or conditions.

Dr Perlaza fitting a patient with a sleep apnea device
Dr Perlaza fitting a patient with a sleep apnea device

1. Most people don’t even know they have it

OSA is more common than you think, and you may be suffering from it right now. It often goes undiagnosed or recognized. It may affect a relatively small percentage of the population (9-10% of women, and 24-25% of men), but most people never find out about it, and suffer the symptoms all the time, just thinking they’re getting a bad night’s rest much of the time.

2. People on medications or sedatives are at risk

The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which causes the airway to bet blocked or constricted during deep sleep. This causes a person to retain more carbon dioxide (CO2) and to get less oxygen while sleeping. There is a natural primitive reflex that kicks in at these times that causes one to wake briefly, take several breaths, then fall back asleep. Unfortunately, if you are taking sedatives, this arousal reflex may be repressed, and you may be at serious risk of suffocation. If you experience symptoms that seem like depression, bad sleep, fatigue, dry mouth, concentration problems, or are morbidly obese, and you take sedatives, you should make an appointment with your dentist to assess whether you have this condition. Sherman Oaks Dentistry offers consultation and sleep apnea home test kits to diagnose and treat sleep apnea.

3. It may seem like it’s something else

Symptoms of sleep apnea are very broad and generally not alarming, and don’t seem like they’d be connected to or caused by OSA.

Any number of symptoms can point to either sleep apnea or some other problem, and it’s hard to tell which is each without getting a diagnosis.

They can be anything from a dry mouth or sore throat to depression, fatigue, trouble concentrating or many other lesser symptoms.

4. Sleep apnea can lead to serious complications

If sleep apnea goes undiagnosed or unnoticed, it can become a risk factor for more serious ailments like heart attack and stroke, diabetes and other serious conditions. It gets more serious over time. You’ll be more healthy if sleep apnea can be diagnosed or ruled out with a home study and treated.

5. It affects many people, and not just those who snore

If you are a morbidly obese male, or even a man who snores, you’re generally the stereotype sufferer of OSA. That being said, while obesity and/or being make are risk factors, after menopause, women are just as likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

6. Safety first is crucial

If you are expecting to go in for a medical or dental procedure that requires a sedative, and you experience any of these symptoms, and think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, let your doctor or dentist know. It’s important to adjust dosages of sedatives for patients in this risk group. Make sure you fill out your medical questionnaires completely, as many of these seemingly insignificant symptoms can point to sleep apnea or other problems that doctors have to take into account for your safety.

7. You can do something about your sleep apnea

There are so many things you can do to decrease your risk for sleep apnea, treat it, and reduce your risk for other medical problems as well. First of all, a good weight loss program may be a good idea for you for myriad reasons. Avoiding sedatives and reducing alcohol consumption, and becoming smoke-free can make a huge change in your health, and it will affect your risk factors for heart disease and others immediately. Quitting smoking can reduce your heart disease risk factors almost immediately by a great deal, as much as 80-90% depending on your other habits. Some people can benefit immediately by not sleeping on their backs, which is the most common sleep position associated with sleep apnea.

sleep apnea device
sleep apnea device

Once diagnosed, many people will require a device that helps prevent constriction of the airways, and betters the air flow for patients. First, do you have any symptoms or a suspicion of suffering from sleep apnea? If so, make an appointment with us right away at Sherman Oaks Dentistry, and we can walk you through all there is to know and do about sleep apnea. We offer consultations, diagnosis, treatment, sleep apnea products, and overnight home sleep studies for you and your family.