If you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night, chances are you aren’t too worried about sleep apnea. Unfortunately, this disorder is far more common than many people realize; in fact, many patients don’t even realize they’re suffering from a sleep disorder in the first place! It’s important to realize just how common sleep apnea really as well as how to recognize the potential warning signs. Help your body get the full night’s rest it deserves by learning more about sleep disorders and how they’re treated.
How Many People Suffer from Sleep Disorders?
At any given time, roughly 70 million Americans are suffering from a sleep disorder; of this group, it’s estimated that 22 million have sleep apnea. Even worse, many of these people don’t even realize they have a problem. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 80% of moderate or severe sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed.
Are You at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea tends to be more common in men as well as people who are overweight. That said, the condition can still affect women and non-obese people. The disorder is typically a result of an obstruction of the airway, and such blockage can have any number of underlying causes.
How Do You Know Whether You Have a Disorder?
The most obvious signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, gasping for air in your sleep, and frequent awakenings. If you live on your own or sleep without a bed partner, however, you probably won’t even realize that you’re snoring, and the awakenings are often so brief that you won’t remember them later. Fortunately, there are other warning signs you can look for, such as:
- General drowsiness.
- Irritability and depression.
- Trouble focusing.
If you have the slightest worry that you might have sleep apnea, get in touch with a sleep expert now. Until your disorder is treated, its symptoms and side effects will only worsen over time.
How Can You Treat Sleep Apnea?
Generally, sleep apnea is treated with CPAP therapy. By forcing air into your throat via a mask, you can keep the airway open all night. Of course, while CPAP machines are effective, they’re also bulky and noisy; not every patient can tolerate them. Luckily, sleep dentists can offer oral appliances as an alternative. Customized appliances hold the mouth in a position that helps prevent the collapse of relaxed oral muscles and tissues, allowing the airway to stay unblocked.
Again, it’s important to remember that sleep apnea can affect you even if you don’t realize it, and there are millions of people who could be at risk. If you’ve frequently been feeling tired during the day, it may be a good idea to arrange a sleep test to see if a sleep disorder is to blame.
About the Author
Dr. Kent Smith is the founding practitioner of Sleep Dallas, and he has been treating sleep breathing disorders for over 25 years now. He has helped more than 10,000 patients enjoy better quality sleep after overcoming their sleep apnea and snoring. To schedule an appointment at his practice in Irving, visit his website or call (844) 409-4657.