What Is Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea

Many people snore in their sleep, but sometimes snoring can be a sign of something more serious. When snoring signals the start and stop of breathing while someone is in a deep sleep, this can be a sign that they may be suffering from sleep apnea, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health conditions.

Not only is sleep apnea physically threatening healthwise, but it can also cause disturbances in your sleep and the people around you. Irregular sleeping patterns can lead to fatigue, irritability, and an inconsistent daily routine. That's why at Sleep Houston, Dr. Hans Schleicher is proud to offer sleep apnea treatments to anyone who might need it.

To learn more about sleep apnea and how our treatments can help you improve your sleep once and for all, read our FAQ below:

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves the repeated starting and stopping of breathing during sleep. Because it can stop one's breathing, sleep apnea can be a very dangerous condition for people to have. While sleep apnea is most common in men, even young children may suffer from sleep apnea, exhibiting symptoms such as loud snoring or fatigue from irregular nights of sleeping.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to deliver the signals needed for the body to know when it's time to physically breathe. However, sleep apnea can also be a result of obstructive airways, making it difficult to breathe even if the brain did deliver the proper signal. Common causes of sleep apnea include obesity, enlarged tonsils, or irregular hormone levels.

Who Is Most Prone to Getting Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is most common in men. However, women are also capable of exhibiting sleep apnea symptoms. If you are overweight or an older adult, your chances of developing sleep apnea are increased.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Knowing the symptoms of sleep apnea can play an important role in determining whether or not you need treatment. Many sleep apnea symptoms can be disguised as common sleeping habits for many, but if more than one of these occurs at the same time, we recommend seeking sleep apnea treatment.

Sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Feeling tired after a full night of sleep.
  • Loved ones notice you stop breathing in your sleep.
  • Choking on your breath while sleeping.
  • Gasping for air while sleeping.
  • Insomnia.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Waking up with a dry mouth.
  • Hypersomnia.

What Happens If I Leave Sleep Apnea Untreated?

Leaving sleep apnea untreated can not only lead to worsening symptoms, but constant interrupted sleep may lead to an increased risk for more serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

What Are the Treatments for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways. We recommend scheduling a personalized consultation with Dr. Schleicher to determine which treatment is right for you.

Lifestyle changes:

For people whose main cause of sleep apnea is their weight, lifestyle changes may be needed to help you get your symptoms under control. Because obesity puts people at risk for sleep apnea, having a balanced diet and sticking to an exercise routine can help patients lose a healthy amount of weight and reduce their sleep apnea symptoms.

Oral appliances: 

At Sleep Houston, we offer patients customizable oral appliances that may improve airway obstruction while sleeping. Perfectly fitted to each patient's mouth, jaw, and teeth, different types of comfortable mouth guards can help encourage prolonged hours of uninterrupted sleep as well as reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

CPAP machine: 

Patients with severe symptoms of sleep apnea may qualify for the use of CPAP machine to treat their symptoms. The CPAP machine uses light pressure to keep the airways open as a patient sleeps for breathing ease.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Hans Schleicher for Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you or someone you know is suffering from interrupted sleep and symptoms of sleep apnea, it's time to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hans Schleicher. Board Credentialed in Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Schleicher provides high-quality care for patients looking to improve their quality of sleep. Proud to serve patients in the greater Houston, TX area, Sleep Houston welcomes new and returning patients at any time. Call 713-828-8587 or click here to schedule your first appointment.

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