young adult man laying in bed awake and restlessDo you wake up feeling like you’ve never slept? Do you fall asleep during mundane tasks like watching TV, sitting at your computer at work, or driving your car? Sleep apnea may be to blame. Not only does this sleep disorder impact your health, but it can also be dangerous for others, too. Those with sleep apnea don’t get the restorative sleep their brain and body need to function optimally. This can cause heart attack, stroke, depression, workplace accidents, and car accidents. In fact, if you get six hours of sleep or less per night, you’re 33% more likely to be involved in a car accident.

Getting treatment for your sleep apnea is the best thing you can do for yourself and others. Sleep apnea treatment in Des Moines, IA, from a top-rated sleep dentist will help you get the sleep you need to keep you and others safe.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep-breathing disorder where you stop breathing for intervals throughout the night. These breathing interruptions can last as little as ten seconds or even up to a minute. And they can happen hundreds of times per night. There are three types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because of a blockage in your airway—usually soft tissues such as your throat or tongue. This is by far the most common type of sleep apnea. It’s estimated that 80% of obstructive sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea is when your brain doesn’t signal your lungs to breathe. This is far less common than OSA.

Complex Sleep Apnea

Less common still is complex sleep apnea. This is a combination of OSA and CSA, which can be caused by the long-time use of a CPAP machine which creates a dependence.

In all cases, your brain will detect the lack of oxygen or an excess of CO2 and wake you to resume breathing. You won’t likely notice most of these awakenings as they are brief. However, you’ve still been woken up, and your sleep cycle is interrupted. With fragmented sleep, your body cannot do the vital work of restoring for the next day. Your Des Moines sleep dentist can help.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms come in many forms. Some happen when you’re awake, and some happen when you sleep. Watch for these common symptoms.

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (falling asleep watching TV, at work, driving your car, etc.)
  • Coughing, choking or gasping for air at night
  • Morning headaches
  • Impaired cognition (memory problems or trouble concentrating)
  • Irritability
  • Loud snoring
  • Witnessed breathing stoppages
  • Awakening with a dry mouth

Who is At Risk?

You may have heard that only overweight men have sleep apnea, but this isn’t true. Anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of weight, gender, or age. Even children can have sleep apnea.

The most common factors that put people at risk for sleep apnea include:

  • Excess weight
  • Neck circumference
  • A narrow airway
  • Family history
  • Men
  • Old age
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent alcohol use
  • Using sleep aids

If you experience symptoms and don’t fall under these risk categories, you may still have sleep apnea. When assessing your sleep health, pay attention to your symptoms rather than the risk factors and seek sleep apnea treatment in Des Moines.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

We know it can be frustrating and disheartening to receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, but we promise you that it’s not the end of the world; you have options! The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, but it’s not the only one.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine)

Most sleep doctors will prescribe a CPAP machine. It’s a mask you wear while you sleep, connected to tubes connecting to a machine that continuously pushes air into your lungs. It holds your airway open and provides the oxygen you need to breathe without apnea episodes. Clinically, it’s 100% effective and can be used to treat all forms of sleep apnea, from mild to severe.

However, many people find CPAP hard to adhere to, which causes them not to wear it at all or intermittently. This doesn’t get them the restorative sleep they need. CPAP only works when you wear it.

CPAP Alternative: Oral Appliance Therapy

An alternative sleep apnea treatment in Des Moines is oral appliance therapy. It’s a small, sleek appliance that you pop into your mouth whenever you sleep. It holds your airway open by repositioning your jaw forward. There is no extra air drying out your throat, no noise from a machine, and no mask or tubes. While your oral appliance only works when you wear it, it’s more comfortable, easy to use and bring with you, and people find it easy to adhere to treatment. No one has to know that you are even wearing it.

It’s effective for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea and are looking for an alternative treatment, your sleep dentist in Des Moines, IA, can fit you with a custom oral appliance.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight can help lessen your sleep apnea. Many overweight people suffer from sleep apnea, and if that’s you, weight management can help. Iowa Sleep & TMJ chooses a multi-facated approach to sleep treatment, so we offer weight management solutions like Ideal Protein.

However, if weight isn’t an issue, loosing more weight won’t help your sleep apnea.

Positional Therapy

We also offer positional therapy. It’s not a cure for sleep apnea, but it can help lessen your symptoms. When you sleep on your back, gravity can weigh the tissues in your airway down and cut you off from oxygen. But if you sleep on your side, we’ve found that sleep apnea episodes decrease. But we know that it can be difficult to only sleep on your side, after all, you’re sleeping! So, we offer a device called a “side sleeper.”

Life After Sleep Apnea Treatment in Des Moines

Imagine always getting the sleep you need. You’ll feel rested when you wake up, wake up without headaches, feel more alert, and are in a good mood. Those around you will notice something different about you, and you’ll know it’s because your Des Moines sleep apnea treatment is working. Say goodbye to the dangers that sleep apnea poses to your health and others, and say hello to a higher quality of life with sleep apnea treatment you can trust. Call (515) 222-0505 or make an appointment online today.