With 2016 fast approaching, you will hear “Happy New Year” more times than you can count in the next few days.
But what would make your new year happier than this last one?
Feeling more active? Probably.
Feeling more energy when you are awake? Of course.
Getting better sleep? Definitely.
If you are not feeling active and energized, it may be because you aren’t getting good, quality sleep. And that may be because of sleep apnea.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but you haven’t found your treatment helpful, then you may want talk to our dentist at Really Smile in Carmel about a different approach to help you sleep better.
Understanding sleep apnea
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 30 percent of Indiana residents have trouble sleeping.
Now, that doesn’t mean that all those people have sleep apnea, but it is one of the more common sleep disorders in the United States. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, although 80 percent of them have not be diagnosed. That means 4 out of every 5 people with sleep apnea are doing nothing to treat it.
Why is this a problem? Sleep apnea has been connected with other health issues as well. People with sleep apnea are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
They also are more likely to be obese. Coincidentally, the obesity rate among adults in Indiana has risen from 14.5 percent in 1990 to 31.8 percent last year.
Some symptoms of sleep apnea include loud and persistent snoring (which means it’s probably affecting your loved ones, too), waking up frequently, feeling tired or irritable, trouble staying alert at work or at school, and waking up feeling like you are gasping for breath.
For people with obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of this condition), the muscles around their airways relax when they are sleeping. This causes their airways to become blocked, which is why they have difficulty breathing in their sleep. (Apnea come from a Greek word that means “without breath.”)
This is also what causes sleep apnea sufferers to snore. Snoring is a way for your body to wake you up briefly so you will keep breathing.
When this happens frequently, you are not getting the kind of deep sleep that you need. That can lead to daytime sleepiness, and that can be dangerous.
Four researchers looked at data from 380,000 accidents involving commercial truckers. They concluded that sleep apnea was a “significant factor” in motor vehicle accidents.
Their study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. They found that people with untreated sleep apnea were four times more likely to be involved in crashes than other drivers.
We hope this helps you understand that sleep apnea affects you and the people around you.
If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, the team at Really Smile can help you get a sleep study so you can be diagnosed.
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you may be prescribed a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine blows air into your airway to keep it open while you sleep.
CPAP users wear a mask while they sleep so the machine can work. When used correctly, the CPAP is an excellent way to alleviate the breathing problems associated with sleep apnea.
Unfortunately, many people do not use their CPAP. Some find the masks uncomfortable or irritating so they take them off or refuse to wear them. That also means they are not really treating their sleep apnea.
As an alternative, our dentist can create a mouthpiece that sleep apnea sufferers can wear at night.
The mouthpiece works by holding your jaw in a more relaxed position. This keeps your airway open so you can continue breathing while you sleep.
This will cut down on your snoring (which your loved ones will appreciate, too) and allow you to get the refreshing, quality sleep that you need to feel healthier, happier, and more alert.
Help yourself enjoy the new year
If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea but find your CPAP too problematic to use, come to our dentist office in Carmel. We would be glad to explain how one of our mouthpieces could help you sleep better.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, don’t wait any longer to get diagnosed and begin your treatment.
Call our office at 317-451-4050 or use our online form to schedule a consultation. The sooner your call, the sooner you can start sleeping better.