What is sleep apnea?
It is said to have contributed to the death of football great Reggie White at the age of just 43, and Dr. Glenn Schmidt believes it would have eventually taken his life. Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially deadly sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans, including children. People who have sleep apnea actually stop breathing for 10 seconds to 30 seconds at a time during their sleep, and these episodes can happen up to 400 times every night. Although it would seem like our bodies would immediately respond to a cessation in breathing, unfortunately it can take some patients up to 120 seconds before they begin to breathe again! So why does this happen? Sleep apnea actually comes down to an airway issue. Dr. Schmidt says think of it like a garden hose. When you bend a garden hose, most of the water is trapped and can’t get out. Patients with sleep apnea have closed off or restricted airways, especially when they lie down, which causes them to stop breathing.
Who is most affected? How do I know if me or my child is at risk? Dr. Schmidt says sleep apnea can affect men, women, or children of any weight or age. However, overweight men with larger necks tend to be those at the highest risk.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea? (Remember, you don’t have to have all of these symptoms to actually be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Presenting symptoms and the severity of a cases can vary from person to person)
- Heavy, loud, chronic snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Long pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness (such as falling asleep at work, while driving or when talking)
- Irritability or fatigue
- Headaches, forgetfulness, and a decreased interest in sex
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Waking up feeling out of breath
Diagnose Sleep Apnea
First and foremost, if you think you suffer from sleep apnea, you should call Riverbend Dental Center to set up an appointment with Dr. Schmidt. Dr. Schmidt says because this disorder can causes a patient to stop breathing for sometimes minutes at a time, it is something that deserves immediate attention. We also recommend clicking on this link, www.sleeptest.com which can also provide you with some more insight into this condition. Dr. Schmidt, along with a licensed board certified sleep physician who can officially diagnose your condition, will determine the best course of action to treat your problem.
Take home sleep apnea test:
Riverbend Dental Center can now offer its patients the Embletta 100, a breakthrough in at home sleep diagnostics that can be done in the privacy of a patient’s home in just one night. After a full consultation and medical history is done on the patient, Dr. Schmidt will provide the patient with the Embletta 100 to take home and wear overnight. The Embletta is an easy, affordable, painless way to get the answers a patient needs to potentially save his or her life from this potentially life-threatening condition.
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