Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Serving Patients in Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton & Nearby Areas of Florida

Sleep apnea is a common but dangerous condition in which oxygen to the brain is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. While certain congenital conditions can cause sleep apnea, it is most often the result of airway obstruction. Fortunately, the experienced neuromuscular dentists at the Smile Centre in Sarasota, Florida understand the mechanisms that cause sleep apnea and may be able to restore your good night’s sleep with relatively straightforward treatments.

To schedule your sleep apnea consultation, please contact the offices of our Florida dentists online or call us directly at (941) 351-4468 in Sarasota or (941) 497-5451 in Venice.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is the name given to a potentially deadly condition that affects as many as one in five Americans. It occurs when the soft tissues of the back of the throat relax and collapse, blocking the airway. The victim may stop breathing for only a few seconds or up to a minute, during which time the brain receives less and less oxygen.

When oxygen levels in the brain drop to a certain critical level, the brain signals the patient to awaken in order to restore normal breathing. This cycle of waking and falling back asleep may happen throughout the night at up to once per minute. Although the patient’s sleep is disrupted, he or she may remain unconscious during the episode and recall nothing of it the next day. For this reason, sleep apnea often goes undetected until a sleep partner brings it to the victim’s attention.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea: The disease affects every gender, ethnicity, and age. But the disease is more positively correlated with certain traits than others. Specifically, sleep apnea is associated with the following.

  • Being overweight. For unknown reasons, overweight individuals are more likely to develop sleep apnea than those of normal weight.
  • Being male. Men are 100 percent more likely to develop sleep apnea than women.
  • Family history. Sleep apnea appears to run in families.
  • Ethnicity. Being an African-American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander. These ethnicities are associated with higher risks of sleep apnea.
  • Being older. Those over the age of 60 are considerably more likely to develop sleep apnea than those younger.
  • Smoking. Those who smoke are at elevated risk compared to those who abstain.

Other risk factors include alcohol use, chronic nasal congestion , and having naturally narrow airways.

What are the symptoms?

Sleep apnea may present with a wide range of symptoms, the most common of which is loud snoring. This is because the tissues of the throat vibrate when they collapse, much like the reed of a woodwind instrument, creating sound.

Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include the following.

  • Daytime sleepiness and chronic fatigue
  • Nighttime insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth

Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause such health complications as high blood pressure, diabetes, and liver problems.

Sleep apnea is, however, treatable. An experienced neuromuscular dentist who is trained in the mechanics of the face and jaw can often treat sleep apnea with a simple oral device that is worn at night while you sleep.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, relief may be closer than you think. Please contact one of our Sarasota dentists today at (941) 444-2480, or call our Venice branch at (941) 444-2468, to schedule your sleep apnea evaluation.