There are signs and symptoms that go along with having sleep apnea. Snoring is the most obvious symptom, of course, and the one that is usually first noticed by a spouse or roommate. But there are other symptoms and signs that are equally important to pay attention to in order to get the diagnosis and treatment for your sleep apnea and to protect your overall health.
- Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure: Sleep Apnea puts a great deal of stress on your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. You can expect that your blood pressure will be pretty high when you have untreated sleep apnea. Hypertension can make it difficult to do lots of other things…like exercise. It can affect your vision, hearing, kidneys, and just about everything else
- Neck Circumference greater than 17” (males) or 16” (females): Not so much a symptom, but a warning sign. The tissue of neck can be constricted by excessive fat cells. People who are obese are far more likely to have sleep apnea than those who are not.
- Low Energy Reserves: Without a regular full night of sleep, apnea sufferers have less energy than their peers. This feeds a negative cycle: the less energy you have, the less likely you are to exercise, lose weight, and bring your blood pressure down.
- Extreme Daytime Sleepiness: Patients with apnea often feel like every time they sit down they fall asleep, even when they’re driving! The heavy urge to sleep can come upon them during even the most routine actions, like reading to their children or watching TV.
- Emotional and Mental Changes: Expect apnea sufferers to be grouchy and short-tempered, somewhat depressed, or even confused. Sleep apnea robs the body of oxygen and sleep, making mental clarity and emotional stability very difficult to achieve and maintain.
Time for A Sleep Study!
Each symptom of sleep apnea is treatable and reversible, but before we can treat it, you have to be willing to have a sleep study. In some cases, this test can be conducted in your own home! This test will shed light on what happens during a typical night’s sleep: how often the waking episodes are, the oxygen levels in the blood, blood pressure, etc. Once the study has been conducted, a sleep doctor will review the results and provide recommendations. Though his first recommendation will probably be a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine (CPAP), make sure you also ask him whether an oral sleep device will work for your case.
Similar to a mouthguard in its shape, the oral sleep device is perfect for mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea. It works by moving the jaw forward to ensure the airway doesn’t seal itself off. It’s much smaller than the other traditional treatments for apnea, fitting into your pocket or purse, and doesn’t need to be replaced frequently like other newer sleep apnea treatments.
At Raleigh Dental Arts, Dr Agarwal can fit you with a custom sleep appliance and provide you with the peaceful night’s rest you’ve been missing.
Think you may have sleep apnea? Call our Raleigh office today to schedule your appointment!