Has your family mentioned to you that you snore? Is it bothering them? Have you noticed that you don’t have much energy? Or maybe you get headaches and you’re snappy. Do you take lots of little naps? Have you ever found yourself about to take one at the wheel?
If this is you, you could be putting your own life in danger! Sleep apnea causes all these symptoms, because while the person who has it thinks he (or she) is sleeping, he or she may be choking and waking him/herself up maybe hundreds of times per night, making it impossible for the body to get the rest it needs. You could have high blood pressure, or get into a terrible car accident – maybe you’ve realized this, and that’s why you’ve finally decided to do something about it.
One person you can turn to in a situation like this is a sleep apnea specialist. A physician with sleep apnea experience can help you find the right treatment. However, it may be a dentist who recognizes that sleep apnea is the underlying problem, and gets you to the right physician. The first thing a sleep physician will do is prescribe a sleep test in order to provide the proper diagnosis. Read here, on the Alaska Sleep Clinic’s site, to learn about what getting a sleep test is like.
It may be that your problem is as simple as making sure that you don’t roll over on your back – a sleep apnea specialist has several methods for achieving this – training you to sleep on your side.
Or, the problem may be solved with a mouthpiece, which looks rather like a football player’s mouth guard, that works by gradually increasing the space in your airways to allow more normal breathing. These devices are becoming more commonly used as advancements in their design make them more comfortable and effective. Read here, in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, to learn more about them. Again, this is something a dental sleep apnea specialist like Dr Keith Valachi, can help you with.
Or, you may be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine – which looks a bit like Darth Vadar’s mask, but when adjusted properly can make sure that air flows freely into your lungs, allowing you to fall into the deep sleep you need. CPAP is known as the gold standard of treatment for sleep apnea.
Whichever form of therapy turns out to be right for you, start now on your journey – read a little here, in the Journal of the American Sleep Apnea Association, about how these treatments have transformed the lives of sleep apnea sufferers. If you live in the Portlnad Metro Area, call Dr. Valachi today!