Have you or a loved one been diagnosed by your physician as requiring treatment for Sleep Disordered Breathing, with sleep apnea being the most common type? If so, Dr. Jamila Miller can help. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night.
Dr. Jamila Miller and her team can work with you to help you understand your condition and explore different treatment options. A restful sleep is extremely important for your overall health.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Disordered Breathing is an umbrella term used for various breathing issues that take place during sleep. Sleep apnea is the most common breathing issue, and is often accompanied by loud snoring. While snoring may seem merely annoying for the rest of your family, it is not normal and can signify serious health issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. This condition may pose significant health risks since it disrupts sleep patterns and can reduce normal blood oxygen levels, which in turn may result in the following:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Irregular blood pressure
- Heart attack
Typically, a physician specializing in Sleep Disordered Breathing will order a sleep apnea test, which uses equipment to monitor your breathing and oxygen levels while you sleep. You will likely spend the night at their laboratory for monitoring, or they will provide a portable, take-home kit that is capable of monitoring from home. This test will determine or diagnose whether or not sleep apnea is an issue.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is seen in all age groups, but the frequency increases with age and obesity. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. When these muscles relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off. Patients with sleep apnea can stop breathing anywhere from five seconds to over a minute long.
Symptoms or signs of obstructive sleep apnea typically include:
- Being sleepy throughout the day after a full night of sleep
- Gasping/choking noises while sleeping
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Waking up with a headache
- Tossing and turning frequently throughout the night
- Increased irritability during the day
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Gastric reflux
Did you know that there are also oral signs and symptoms that your dentist can see that may signify that you or your child may have a sleep disorder? Here are a list of a few signs that may signify a problem:
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Acid erosion on the upper teeth
- Clenching or grinding
- Little notches on the side of your tongue
- Issues with your jaw joints (TMJ), such as clicking, popping, or pain
- Steep jaw line
- Receding chin
- Tight attachment of tissue under your tongue making it less flexible (often referred to as tongue tided)
Once you have been diagnosed, Dr. Miller has the capabilities for fabricating an oral appliance designed to keep your airway open while you are asleep.
The Importance of Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is important to diagnose and treat. If left untreated, the lack of oxygen, constant strain placed on the heart and brain together with poor sleep quality can lead to serious, negative long-term consequences to your health. The more severe the obstructive sleep apnea, the greater the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and even death. The scary part about obstructive sleep apnea is that one may not know they suffer from the issue. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of this condition so you can take steps to get treated, or help treat a family member or partner.
Dr. Miller and her team have been highly successful in fabricating custom sleep apnea devices designed to help keep your airway open during the night. There are several oral devices Dr. Miller can make to accomplish this. The use of these devices also helps to eliminate the need for noisy, bulky machines that are positioned over your face each night, forcing air into your airway while you sleep. Leaving sleep apnea untreated can open the door to a host of other serious, chronic health issues. People who undergo treatment for sleep apnea have reported improved sleep and quality of life. If you or your partner have noticed signs of sleep apnea, visit your doctor or call us today at (219) 836-4214.
Approximately 40 million Americans have some form of Sleep Disordered Breathing, but you do not have to be one of them. Contact us today to discuss your concerns and possible treatment options.
Call (219) 836-4214 or request an appointment online.