Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects one’s breathing.
Sleep apnea is a common condition, but it also tends to be underdiagnosed. The issue, which can affect both adults and children, can lead to many other serious health conditions if left untreated. So how do you know if you have sleep apnea? Read on to find out about some of the possible symptoms, and what you should do about them…
What are the symptoms in adults?
There are many possible symptoms of sleep apnea that present in adults. These include loud snoring; episodes of paused breathing during sleep; waking up suddenly with shortness of breath and choking and gasping on awakening. You may also often wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth, as well as a headache.
Other possible signs of sleep apnea in adults include daytime sleepiness, insomnia, concentration or memory problems; and mood-related issues.
What are the symptoms in children?
If your child snores, it could be a sign that they have sleep apnea. Other common signs of the condition include mouth breathing and pauses in breathing during sleep. They may also experience daytime sleepiness. Often, children with undiagnosed sleep apnea display behavioural and learning-related problems like problems paying attention at school.
In toddlers, the warning signs of sleep apnea include breathing difficulties and snoring, as well as coughing, choking and sweating during sleep. While they are awake, you may notice that they are particularly irritable, or that they fall asleep at inappropriate times.
How can it be treated?
If you suspect that you, your partner or your child has sleep apnea, you must seek professional help as soon as possible. The condition can contribute to a range of other health concerns if it is not properly addressed.
Fortunately, there are many treatments available for sleep apnea. The type of treatment that is most suitable for you will depend on your particular needs and lifestyle. In some cases, lifestyle changes can be sufficient in managing your symptoms. These include weight loss; smoking cessation; and avoiding alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills. Even changing your sleep position can have a considerable impact, and your doctor will explain this to you if this a feasible option for you.
Other possible treatments for sleep apnea include oral appliance therapy, continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) and surgery.
When should you get help?
You may have sleep apnea without even knowing it. If your partner has let you know that you snore, or that you have regular episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep, you should see a medical professional. If you have noticed any other signs of sleep apnea, such as headaches upon waking in the morning, daytime sleepiness, or unexplained irritability, it is a good idea to come in for a diagnosis. The sooner your symptoms can be managed, the better — for the sake of your overall health and sense of wellbeing.
If you have noticed any of the symptoms of sleep apnea in your child, we encourage you to bring them in for an assessment. Each patient is different, and a treatment plan can be customized based on your little one’s individual needs.
How can we help?
At Elite Dental of Staten Island, we offer treatments for sleep apnea and snoring in adults, as well as solutions for children’s airway concerns. If you would like to find out how we may be able to help you, please have a look here.
If you suspect that your child is suffering from an airway concern, take our questionnaire to screen for snoring, sleepiness and behavioral problems here.
To arrange a consultation, please get in touch with us here or give us a call on (717) 563 6985. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice in Staten Island and helping to improve your overall health.