When it comes to the treatment of sleep apnea McKinney patients require, you might not initially think about visiting a dentist. However, no medical specializes more in the inner workings of the mouth and throat than dentists. With specialized training, Dr. Lawrence becomes an ideal option for patients looking to have their successfully apnea treated.
Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic health problem that more than doubles an individual’s risk of death as a result of heart disease.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
For patients with sleep apnea, the disorder prevents them from receiving the required sleep their bodies need, while also placing incredible stress on the body. Sleep apnea causes the upper airway located in the back of the throat to collapse during sleep. This creates an obstruction that prevents the brain from getting an adequate amount of oxygen. Sensing oxygen levels have dropped, the brain shocks the body out of sleep.
In cases of severe obstructive sleep apnea, the cycle of a patient falling asleep, having their airway cut off, and waking back up can occur dozens of times an hour. Not only does this prevent patient from receiving the deep REM sleep their bodies require, it places a lot of stress on their bodily systems.
Imagine waking up hundreds of times a night to the sound of a blaring fire alarm. That kind of shock and stress to the body, repeated every night for a lifetime, eventually leads to an increased risk for a variety of diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Unfortunately, a large majority of patients who experience nightly sleep apnea never even realize they have a problem. After all, the symptoms of sleep apnea only manifest when you’re asleep.
You might think that if you woke up hundreds of times a night you’d remember, but most of the time the body only wakes for a few seconds before falling back to sleep. You’re more likely to vaguely remember tossing and turning at night rather than how many times you actually woke up.
Often, patients don’t realize they have a problem unless alerted by a bed partner or roommate about their nightly snoring. Patients with sleep apnea tend to snore loudly and make choking or gasping sounds in their sleep. In fact, snoring is such a common symptom of sleep apnea that anyone who experiences frequent snoring, choking, or gasping at night should undergo a sleep study test to determine if apnea may be the cause.
The Cost of No Treatment
For patients who ignore their nightly snoring, sleep apnea increases their risk for the development of several diseases. If you want help remember which one, the acronym HEARTS has you covered.
The diseases patients with apnea have the highest risk for developing include:
- H: Heart failure
- E: Elevated blood pressure
- A: Atrial fibrillation
- R: Resistant hypertension
- T: Type 2 diabetes
- S: Stroke
In addition to snoring, patients with sleep apnea typically manifest a few other telltale symptoms that include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
- Feeling tired, regardless of how much sleep they received the night before
If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, snore loudly, or have any other reason to think you might have sleep apnea, you need to schedule an exam with Dr. Lawrence right away. After just one night, Dr. Lawrence will have information needed to make a diagnosis about the type of rest you receive while asleep.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Contact our office today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Lawrence.