Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Causes

Dr. Stephen J. Pyle’s works with sleep apnea patients and is one of the leading sleep apnea specialists in Weston. If you are one of the hundreds of Weston residents who have a difficult time getting a restful night’s sleep you may be suffering from a relatively common but frequently undiagnosed sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life threatening events including heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and the early onset of Alzheimer’s.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is partially blocked by the tongue and/or the soft tissue at the back of the throat. This blockage temporarily reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and disrupts the normal breathing pattern. Heavy snoring, a common symptom, is actually an effort to unblock the airway. These disruptions in breathing can last a few seconds or even a few minutes. Eventually the brain will "awaken" long enough to resume a normal breathing pattern. These disruptions can occur many times in an hour and their cumulative oxygen starving effect is what makes the condition so dangerous.

Do You Have Sleep Apnea?

There are no firm fast rules regarding the symptoms of sleep apnea but there are indicators. If you experience two or more of the following you should at least get scanned for sleep apnea:

  • Frequent loud snoring
  • Waking up not feeling refreshed after sleeping
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom at night
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty in concentrating during the day
  • Waking up with a headache

Because gravity and relaxation play a role in sleep apnea, body shape and size plays a role in the disease. Obese persons or persons with a large neck size are more susceptible to developing the condition. People who sleep on their back rather than on their side put the full pull of gravity on the tongue and soft tissue of the throat.

Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician that specializes in sleep disorders. As a dentist, Dr. Pyle can scan for indicators as the causes of the condition are located in the back of the mouth. Dr. Pyle routinely refers patients to sleep disorder specialists for further evaluation and then works with that doctor to design a therapy to effectively manage the condition.

If you believe you may be experiencing sleep apnea, call our Weston dental practice today to schedule a sleep apnea scan examination with Dr. Pyle.