A Deeper Look Into (Not) Sleeping

Some people wake up and say, “Why am I always so tired?” Sleep apnea is a disorder that has repercussions far beyond loud snoring. Breathing can stop altogether for periods of time because the jaw and tongue fall back into their throat, closing up the airway, causing the sleeper to gasp for breath. The reduced intake of oxygen can lead to a host of problems.

Symptoms of sleep-related breathing disturbances and/or sleep apnea include snoring; tiredness in the morning and/or throughout the day; waking up during the night; waking up with a dry mouth; having a large neck circumference; acid reflux; enlarged tongue; morning headaches, migraines and cluster headaches; sexual dysfunction; and diabetes.

If left untreated, potential problems can only worsen. It can affect the way we function and even those around us. Some of the ensuing effects of continued sleep apnea include ADD; thyroid dysfunction; high blood pressure; extreme fatigue, anxiety, irritability; immune system suppression; heart attack; stroke; and even death during sleep.

If sleep apnea is suspected, inform a medical provider. They may suggest a sleep study that can determine how well we sleep during the night. Statistics say that 32 percent of male patients, 60 percent of NFL players, and 70 percent of those that snore have a sleep-related breathing disorder.

For a quick fix, try sleeping on one side. Losing weight may help, too. The doctor may recommend a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine or an oral device, which can halt 70 percent of sleep apnea cases. Also, find a dentist that has experience with sleep apnea for a customized appliance for the condition.

Dr. Bernice Teplitsky is the owner of Wrigleyville Dental. For more information, call 773-975-6666 or visit WrigleyvilleDental.com.

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