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Obstructive Sleep Apnea—What Is It, How Does It Affect You and How Can Dr. Rye Help?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that can greatly affect your health and even lead to premature death. Fortunately, Dr. Gordon Rye at Rye Smiles for Life is a trained and experienced dentist when it comes to identifying and treating obstructive sleep apnea!
During OSA, muscle relaxation causes your airway to be entirely blocked or narrowed which causes breathing to stop during sleep. When this happens, your body wakes up so the airway can open and you can breathe normally again. However, generally you fall back asleep shortly afterwards and the process begins all over again. Most people have no recollection of this in the morning.
Obstructive sleep apnea is chronic and affects over 20 million Americans. Today, many cases of obstructive sleep apnea still go undiagnosed!
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Dr. Rye at Rye Smiles for Life in Fairfax, VA is proficient at recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with sleep apnea. In fact, dentists are the most common doctors to recognize the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in their patients. This is because when visiting Dr. Rye for a checkup, symptoms such as dry mouth or throat, fatigue, and snoring are often mentioned. Since people typically visit their dentist more often than a doctor, Dr. Rye is more likely to recognize these symptoms.
If Dr. Rye believes you have obstructive sleep apnea, he can refer you to a sleep specialist who will do more extensive testing. A sleep specialist will conduct a physical exam, review your medical history, and may even perform a sleep study to determine if you have OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by Dr. Rye with an oral sleep appliance and lifestyle changes as suggested by your doctor.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
There are many signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, as the cessation of breathing during sleep deprives your body of necessary oxygen and negatively impacts your health.
While snoring, morning headaches, and daytime fatigue are some of the most common symptoms, not everyone will experience these symptoms. If you suffer from OSA, you may also have the following:
- Emotional disturbances
- Feeling groggy in the morning
- Awaking from sleep choking or gasping
- High blood pressure
- Trouble concentrating
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, ask Dr. Rye at your next checkup if obstructive sleep apnea could be the problem!
Health Risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to many other chronic diseases, which is why addressing OSA is so important!
Among other health issues, obstructive sleep apnea has been connected to:
- Heart disease. People with OSA are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and stroke. This could be a result of the stress of waking up so often during the night from being unable to breathe, as well as from low oxygen in the blood.
- Diabetes. Since your sleep is so disrupted with obstructive sleep apnea, this prevents your body from being able to properly utilize insulin. As a result, it’s suspected that 80% of people with diabetes have OSA.
- High blood pressure. Not only does OSA worsen existing hypertension, but it can actually cause it in people with obstructive sleep apnea. The constant waking stresses your body, disturbs your hormones, and the lack of oxygen from cessation of breathing can all trigger high blood pressure.
- Obesity. Since obstructive sleep apnea can disrupt your hormones, it can lead to weight gain and even obesity. People who are overweight or obese are also more likely to suffer from OSA, making it harder to lose weight.
- Accidents. Obstructive sleep apnea often causes fatigue in the daytime since your body isn’t getting the proper rest it needs. This fatigue can make you much more likely to get in accidents, such as falling asleep while driving, which increases your risk for accidental death.
How Dr. Rye Can Help
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can alleviate many of the symptoms that come with it! Obstructive sleep apnea is commonly treated with oral sleep appliances by the most skilled Fairfax VA dentist, Dr. Rye. Dr. Rye is not only trained to recognize the signs of obstructive sleep apnea, but is also experienced in treating patients who have OSA with oral sleep appliances. These devices are worn at night and help keep your airway open while sleeping, resulting in an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea!
Dr. Rye at Rye Smiles for Life in Fairfax VA uses the MicrO2 oral sleep appliance device to effectively treat sleep apnea in patients. The MicrO2 is a compact yet effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It eliminates snoring and helps keep your airway open and unobstructed. It’s comfortable and is designed to fit seamlessly into your mouth.
When OSA is properly treated, you can reduce blood pressure, decrease your risk for heart disease and diabetes, and maybe even lose weight. Most of all, treating OSA with Dr. Rye results in a proper night’s sleep, ensuring you’re awake enough to experience a new day!
Are you experiencing any signs or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? If you suffer from headaches, fatigue, or snoring, you could be at risk for a chronic sleep disorder that’s hugely impacting your life. Talk to Dr. Rye at Rye Smiles for Life about sleep apnea and how he can help!