Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. If you suffer from sleep apnea, each time your breathing stops, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Because the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don't remember it. However, the constant wake-sleep-wake-sleep cycle precludes the deep sleep that refreshes the body and sufferers are frequently drowsy during the day.
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. Sleep apnea treatments range widely and depend on the severity of the problem and the type of apnea. Oral devices, prescribed by Dr. Anderson, can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage, thus preventing more severe sleep apnea issues from occurring.