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What is Sleep Apnea?
Asheboro, NC

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder with many different causes. Generally, however, it tends to be characterized by some key phenomena. Oftentimes the signs of sleep apnea are overlooked by those experiencing it as the body does not consciously remember discomfort and difficulty breathing during the night.

Sleep apnea is a disorder where the body does not get the proper amount of oxygen it needs due to impaired and labored breathing during sleep. Snoring, gasping for air, and periods or bursts without breathing are the most clear indicators one might have sleep apnea. These are often exclusively brought to light by someone else close to the afflicted. Waking up with dry mouth, excessive sleepiness during the day, and a general feeling of poor sleep are also signs that indicate one might be suffering sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea that you could suffer from:
•  Central Sleep Apnea - This occurs when the signals from your brain do not reach the muscles that are in charge of your breathing; this form is not very common
•  Obstructive Sleep Apnea - This occurs when there is an obstruction in your airway that causes you to stop breathing. This causes your chest muscles to have to work harder to push air from your lungs through your airway.

Symptoms your Partner will Notice

Most of the time, your partner will notice that you have sleep apnea before you do. Most people do not waken or do not consciously waken from their breathing episodes. Your partner will notice the loud side effects though. These symptoms could include:
•  Extremely loud snoring that keeps your partner up at night
•  Choking or gasping sounds
•  Tossing and turning in your sleep

Physical Symptoms

In addition to the symptoms that your partner might recognize are the symptoms that you might experience. Typically these symptoms present themselves during the day, after a long night of many sleep apnea episodes and include:
•  Chronic fatigue
•  Headaches
•  Difficulty focusing
•  Memory Loss
•  Depression
•  High blood pressure

How Sleep Apnea is Treated

Obstructive sleep apnea can thankfully be treated by means of custom oral appliances. The oral appliances are shaped like a mouthguard and work similarly. By holding the position of the jaw, muscles are held in place and prevented from sagging or collapsing upon themselves.

These oral appliances can be created by us. If a doctor or sleep specialist determines that the best course of action is to employ the use of an oral appliance, then we are the final stop to finally arriving at treatment.

We will take impressions of the mouth to make oral appliances. Once the oral appliance has been completed, the in-person test begins to ensure fit. We can teach you how to clean and preserve the device for a longevous instrument life, while also providing occasional adjustments if needed.

Who is at Risk?

There are many people that are at risk for sleep apnea. Among the most common are people that are overweight or have a large neck, typically those that measure greater than 17 inches. The fat deposits in this area could cause the airway to narrow, making it difficult to breathe while at rest. Some people naturally suffer from a narrow airway or have large tonsils that get in the way of breathing at night. If you have a family history, are over the age of 60 or are a woman that has gone through menopause, you are also at risk. Certain lifestyles also increase the risk of sleep apnea including smoking and drinking.

The Risks

There are many risks involved with sleep apnea, of which the most dangerous is the toll it takes on your cardiovascular system. As your breathing slows, your cardiovascular system has to work harder, which increases your blood pressure and puts a strain on your heart, putting you at risk for a heart condition, including congestive heart failure, stroke and heart attack.

In addition, daytime fatigue can play a large factor in your life. It could put you in danger if you get behind the wheel, make it impossible to focus and make you very irritable. This could cause problems on the road, at work and even with your family life.

If you suspect that you are at risk for sleep apnea, it is important to seek medical attention from your general physician. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, Drs. Bryan Freeman and Cheryl Freeman can help you find the oral appliance and treatment that will alleviate your symptoms and decrease your risk of sleep apnea.

Randolph Center for Dental Excellence
Dr. Bryan Freeman and Dr. Cheryl Freeman

(336) 444-2772

134 Davis Street
Asheboro, NC 27203-5469

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What Is Sleep Apnea? | Dentist Asheboro, NC | Randolph Center for Dental Excellence
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing while you are sleeping, thus the term apnea, which means halted breath. Click here to learn more!
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