Many people, particularly adults but children as well, suffer from airway issues which compromised sleep, so not everybody actually has sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is where the airway actually obstructs or closes and you can't breathe, and then your body wakes up, maybe not to consciousness but it goes from one stage of sleep to another stage of sleep, and people can actually wake up gasping for air. There are a whole variety of airway concerns where folks aren't getting adequate sleep, and it does affect memory and various other health conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type two diabetes, and early onset dementia, and other things like that. It's a serious health concern. All patients are screened for sleep apnea or airway issues and then various referrals can be made. I either refer to sleep clinics, I have great relationships with a whole bunch of sleep clinics in the area, and then I'm trained to treat folks that have sleep apnea. They're diagnosed from the sleep center, and then we make appliances as an alternative to CPAP for that.
Are you tired all the time? Is your throat sore? Are you in a bad mood constantly because you’re fatigued, or do you have family member complaining about how much you snore? You may suffer from sleep apnea. Dr. Wilhelm of Mark W. Wilhelm, DMD, MSD in Woodbury, MN can help you get past your sleep apnea symptoms and get the rest you need.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder. There are two main types, central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Central – This type of sleep apnea originates from a problem with the way your brain processes signals to your airway muscles. Your brain fails to send the message to keep you breathing while you sleep. This interruption in your breathing signals is intermittent and will cause you to jerk awake to catch your breath. This type of sleep apnea is oftentimes related to other health problems.
Obstructive – This is the primary type of sleep apnea that Mark W. Wilhelm, DMD, MSD addresses. With obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted because your airway becomes blocked. This blockage can happen several times per hour and rob you of the rest you need.
What are Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
Sleep apnea has a number of symptoms, many of which you may never have thought would indicate a sleeping disorder. In fact, many sleep apnea symptoms are attributed to other ailments, and sleep apnea, in turn, can exacerbate conditions like heart-related issues. Some of the most common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Feeling Tired All the Time – Sleep apnea causes you to wake up several times per night. You are not given the opportunity to make it to that deep level of sleep that you need to feel refreshed for the morning.
- Chronic Sore Throat – The obstruction that blocks your airway comes from inside your throat (large tongue, tonsils, or fatty tissue). When the blockage occurs, it puts a strain on the throat as it is violently cleared. With this happening several times throughout the night, it is understandable that your throat will be sore.
- Headaches – The lack of sleep will leave you overly fatigued and can easily cause chronic headaches.
- Mood Issues – The lack of restful sleep will take its toll on your mood as well. Nobody is thrilled to get out of bed in the morning, but that feeling is magnified when you haven’t gotten the kind of sleep you need.
- Snoring – This is the most recognizable symptom of sleep apnea. You will have violent, constant snoring that will wake up anyone within earshot.
Can Dr. Wilhelm Diagnose My Sleep Apnea?
Dr. Wilhelm works with sleep clinics to get you properly diagnosed. When you come into our office for a sleep apnea consultation, Dr. Wilhelm will examine you, ask you questions about your sleep habits and medical history, and use pharyngometry to determine the volume of your airway. Based on this screening, he may refer you to a clinic for a sleep test to confirm a diagnosis. Many of our patients are referred by hospitals, either after a patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and is ready for treatment, or if a patient has been unable to tolerate CPAP and needs an alternative.
How Can Dr. Wilhelm Treat My Sleep Apnea?
There are several ways we can help you get past your sleeping issues. Dr. Wilhelm will work with you to determine which treatment is right for you.
Oral Appliance – For many cases of obstructive sleep apnea, a mouthpiece or oral appliance is an effective way to keep your airway clear while you sleep. The mouthguard will slightly push your lower jaw out to help eliminate the blockage that has been causing your sleep apnea symptoms.
CPAP – CPAP refers to continuous positive airway pressure machines. This treatment will keep a certain level of air pressure in your airway to prevent blockage from occurring. The machine is connected to a face mask that you wear during the night. Mark W. Wilhelm, DMD, MSD is the only treatment center in the state that provides combination-therapy custom face masks for our patients. These masks combine the CPAP treatment with a mouthguard so that you get the maximum effect from using both methods at the same time.