Do you often wake in the morning with a headache? You may attribute it to tossing and turning at night, stress, or maybe even a sinus issue; however, the problem might be more severe. Reoccurring headaches are often a sign of a disorder called sleep apnea. It causes you to stop breathing frequently throughout the night. The decreased oxygen levels produce an array of symptoms, including morning headaches. If you cannot eliminate them using other solutions, like decongestants, it is time to see your dentist for sleep apnea in New Braunfels.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that often results from an obstruction in the airway. As you sleep, the soft tissues in the back of your mouth and throat collapse, restricting your airflow. This causes you to stop breathing frequently throughout the night with each event lasting as long as one minute.
Sleep apnea affects at least 18 million adults. The exact amount remains unknown because many people are not diagnosed. It can be difficult to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of the condition because they can be quite diverse, such as chronic snoring, morning headaches, or waking often.
Why Do I Have a Headache?
Headaches are a common complaint among sleep apnea sufferers because the lack of proper oxygen levels cause your blood vessels to widen. This can result in vascular headaches. You may also notice an increase in feeling drowsy throughout the day or have a difficult time concentrating.
Do I Need Treatment?
Many people choose to just live with the headaches and symptoms of the sleep disorder, but this is never a good idea. Although they may be nothing more than a nuisance, over time you can develop serious health concerns. The lack of adequate oxygen places strain on your heart, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
How Do I Treat Sleep Apnea?
There are two common methods used to treat the disorder. The most conventional treatment involves the use of a CPAP machine. It delivers a stream of air through a mask worn over your mouth or nose to keep your airways open. Although it is effective, some have come to prefer an oral appliance. This is a custom-fit device that is like a mouthguard. Instead of protecting your teeth, it repositions your lower jaw forward to keep your airways open.
Which Treatment is Right for Me?
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you need a sleep study to be properly diagnosed. Using the information gathered while you sleep, your dentist creates a customized treatment plan to help you breathe better and sleep soundly.
About David Earnest
Dr. David Earnest earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Texas. In addition to general dentistry, he also offers many areas of specialty care, including the treatment of sleep apnea. If you think you have the condition, do not wait. Contact Comal Dental today to schedule your consultation.