Wilshire Smile Studio helps a variety of our patients deal with sleep apnea of varying severities. Sleep Apnea is quite a common disorder, where you can experience (between one and several), shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses when you suffer from sleep apnea can last anywhere from a few seconds to a matter of minutes at a time. Normal breathing will generally start again with a loud snort or choking sound, usually to the chagrin the person who has to sleep near or next to them.
Before we get into sleep apnea, the problems it causes and the solutions that can change the way you’re being affected, here are some important facts to know about sleep apnea:
The average American gets about 7 hours of sleep, which is steadily decreasing due to factors like stress. Stress is only increasing in our hyper-connected world of transparency.
Sleep apnea has been linked (and should be seen as a gateway condition) to more serious health problems like High Blood Pressure, GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), Diabetes, Obesity, Depression, Heart Disease, even Stroke.
A Harvard Medical Study conducted in May of 2011 reported convincing findings that patients untreated for moderate to severe sleep apnea had a decrease of life expectancy of 8-11 years — this is in opposition to patients who were properly treated for their sleep apnea of similar severity.
Some of the problems that sleep apnea can cause:
Sleep Apnea ends up having a severe effect on your sleep, which can affect your everyday life. This is a chronic, ongoing condition. You’ll often shift from a deep sleep into a shallow sleep while your breathing pauses or gets light. When you experience a lack of sleep, it can cause serious problems to your motor skills and other day to day activities. Lack of sleep will have a definite and noticeable effect on the functionality of your daily life. It can certainly affect your driving ability and your performance in the workplace. Basically, there’s a lot at stake if you don’t take care of your sleep apnea.
If you let your sleep apnea go untreated, it can increase your risk of acquiring other health problems, like high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure. As you can see, it’s no joke.
Beyond treatments offered at remedies you can practice and lifestyle changes that you can make that we would like to suggest. With a few minor adjustments, you can enhance your way of life, increase your well-being, and (just as important) reduce or further control your sleep apnea.
In minor cases, self-care might actually be the most effective way to deal with the more mild forms of obstructive sleep apnea. In some cases, self-care can present a fine remedy for central sleep apnea as well.
Lose Some Excess Weight
We know that one of the hardest things in life to do is adjust your diet and diligently commit to a healthy, strenuous exercise routine. It’s always easier said than done. Changing your life can be tough, and it always seems like more temptations arise when you’re trying to change. But try to maintain a well-balanced diet. Don’t allow yourself any cheat days. It’s for the best. As you advance in age, it’s more and more important to stay on top of your weight, your fitness, your caloric intake, and your blood pressure. Excess weight can contribute to throat constriction, which can cause you to experience trouble breathing. You can force your sleep apnea into complete remission if you lose excess weight and force yourself to stay physically active.
Regular exercise should be practiced religiously, if you have the means. Even if you don’t have a gym membership, there are things you can do at the house to maintain your fitness. Try to workout at a scheduled time consistently, which can also help ease your sleep apnea symptoms. This can help your sleep apnea even if you don’t experience weight loss. 30 minutes of exercise four or five days a week is good enough to do the job. If you’re starting out slow, you can do as little as a brisk walk for about a half hour every day. Just a small adjustment like this will yield you great results.
Keep Your Nasal Passages Clear
Nasal sprays work well for keeping nasal passages open, especially at night, which is when open passage of air is of paramount importance. If you can find a saline nasal spray that works for you at your local grocery store and apply it nightly, it can do wonders for you. Talk to your doctor about using any decongestants and antihistamines before trying these. Generally, medications like these are designed only for SHORT TERM USE.
Now’s the Time to Stop Smoking
We know that, like keeping a healthy diet, quitting smoking can be one of the hardest battles you’ll ever go through. Some people go their entire lifetimes without achieving independence from the chokehold of tobacco. Smoking particularly worsens your situation if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
Quit Drinking, Too
Avoid adult beverages, and certainly avoid certain medications. Tranquilizers can negatively affect your sleep apnea, ironically enough. Tranquilizers and other depressants will actually relax muscles in the back of your through, which will disrupt your breathing as well.
Sleep On The Side, Not Your Back
Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat, which clogs up your airways, blocking your ability to breathe.
If sleep apnea persists in the face of making these lifestyle changes, then we can help. Contact Wilshire Smile Studio today. We pride ourselves in providing a variety of cosmetic and general dentistry procedures that will make your life better. We also specialize in sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.