Why do I wake up suddenly gasping for air during the night?
Sleep apnea is a complex health condition that can cause oral and systemic health complications. It’s a chronic sleep disorder that goes overwhelmingly undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is a growing health concern affecting millions of Americans and impacting the quality of their daily lives.
If you wake suddenly gasping for air, wake with chronic headaches, or snore loudly, you may be experiencing sleep apnea and should discuss your symptoms and concerns during an appointment or consultation with Rockville dentist Dr. Sarkarzadeh.
Sleep apnea is typically caused by an obstruction of the airway during sleep resulting from the collapse of soft tissue at the back of the throat. The airway becomes blocked, and patients are momentarily unable to breathe, cutting oxygen off from vital organs. Patients may snore loudly or wake suddenly gasping for air. This can occur up to 500 times a night.
Patients suffering from sleep apnea are unable to enjoy a full restful night of sleep. Left untreated, it increases the risk of developing larger health problems and can make existing medical conditions harder to manage. Patients may feel fatigued, experience chronic headaches, or have trouble focusing.
A patient’s risk factor increases for developing heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes. Congressional Dental Care of Rockville, MD works with local sleep specialists to diagnose and treat sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea in Rockville, MD
The CPAP is the traditional treatment for sleep apnea but it has a very low compliance rate among patients. The majority of the complaints are that the CPAP is uncomfortable and obtrusive. Dr. Sarkarzadeh offers an alternative to the CPAP for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
An oral appliance is much like a mouth guard and will fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth. It works by repositioning the jaw to increase the size of the airway allowing you to breathe comfortably throughout the night.
An oral appliance is comfortable, convenient and discreet. Most patients will use their oral appliance daily, the key to reducing the health risks associated with sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Anyone could develop sleep apnea; however, certain populations are at a higher risk. Male patients over the age of 40 are most likely to develop sleep apnea, especially if they have a larger neck circumference. Obesity, diabetes and a family history of obstructive sleep apnea are also common risk factors for developing OSA.
If you notice any changes in your oral health or sleep patterns or any of the following symptoms, be sure to let Dr. Sarkarzadeh know at your next dental health exam:
- Chronic fatigue
- Depression, irritability
- Trouble concentrating
- Chronic headaches
- Waking gasping for air
- Loud snoring
Sleep Apnea FAQs
What happens if sleep apnea is left untreated?
If left untreated, sleep apnea is known to increase patients’ risk of a variety of health issues. It may increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and other heart issues. It is important to attempt to treat sleep apnea so it does not develop into or cause any of the health problems listed above.
What is the best position to sleep with sleep apnea?
The best position to sleep with sleep apnea is on your side, preferably the right. This opens up patients’ airways and encourages blood flow through the body. Propping one’s head with pillows also helps open airways and encourages blood to flow freely throughout the body.
What foods cause sleep apnea?
The main food group that causes sleep apnea is dairy. Dairy items that have high fat contents are the worst for patients with sleep apnea. These foods increase mucus production which may block airways. These are also foods known to cause weight gain which may worsen and prolong the effects of sleep apnea.
What is the life expectancy of someone with sleep apnea?
People with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for suffering from a heart attack. Patients who have had sleep apnea for 5 or more years increase the risk of death by 30%.
Will losing weight cure my sleep apnea?
Weight loss is a great way to open up airways helping sleep apnea. Patients may reduce their symptoms significantly by loosing weight. Weight loss helps reduce sleep apnea symptoms, but does not regularly fully cure patients of their sleep apnea.
Schedule A Sleep Apnea Exam Today
To learn more about sleep apnea and how it could affect your oral and overall health contact our Rockville, MD dentist office, or request an appointment online. We welcome new patients from Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Aspen Hill, Rollins Park and all surrounding communities.