Sleep apnea is a serious sleep-related breathing disorder that affects over 20 million Americans, with about 75% of cases going undiagnosed. It is much more common in men than women, and the likelihood of sleep apnea increases as we age.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
A sleep apnea episode occurs when the tongue and muscles in the throat relax and soften to the point that they close off the airway. One of the most prominent sleep apnea symptoms is loud snoring or gasping for breath noticed by a sleep partner.
If you live alone, common signs of sleep apnea to look for are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking up with dry mouth
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or mood swings
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
It’s crucial to identify and treat sleep apnea as moderate to severe cases significantly increase a patient’s risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure.
Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea in Wilmington, DE
If you experience any of the above symptoms, we can arrange an at-home sleep study test coordinated with a local sleep physician. While a CPAP mask is typically recommended for moderate to severe sleep apnea, it can be cumbersome to wear, and many patients simply go without it.
An alternative to a CPAP mask that we offer at our Wilmington, DE dental office is customized oral appliance therapy or OAT. This device places your lower jaw in a slightly forward position that keeps the airway open and allows you to breathe freely.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
If you suspect sleep apnea, please don’t wait to seek treatment. There are solutions available to protect your health and allow you to get a restful night’s sleep. Please call us so we can help you.