Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that impacts millions of people every night as they try to sleep. In addition to causing the person to not sleep well, the condition can be life threatening, as the person involuntarily stops breathing while they sleep. The time breathing stops can range from several seconds to a minute or more.
Luckily, in most cases, the brain signals the body that breathing has stopped and causes the person to partially awaken and resume breathing again. In most cases the person is not aware that they have stopped breathing. One of the most important side effects of sleep apnea is the person’s inability to get any quality sleep, as their body is constantly partially awakening to resume breathing.
In general, people that are overweight and snore loudly are more susceptible to sleep apnea than other people. Symptoms include being tired during the day, as well as awakening during the night for no apparent reason.
One of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea is the use of an oral appliance, which is made by a sleep apnea patient’s dentist. This appliance is worn during the night and forces the lower jaw to protrude slightly forward from its normal position. This causes the back of the throat and airway to be open while sleeping, eliminating the sleep apnea, as well as reducing snoring.
The appliance is cost effective and comfortable to wear. Once the sleep apnea patient gets use to it, they will forget that they are even wearing it! What they will notice however is how much better rested they feel.
Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid
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