What is sleep apnea?

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Sleep apnea is a serious chronic condition in which you stop breathing for periods lasting from seconds to a minute or more repeatedly throughout the night. The most characteristic sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring that stops and is followed by gasping. Often, the bed partner of the person with sleep apnea is the first to notice the condition (although they may not realize what the snoring and gasping indicate).

Because the body must rouse slightly to resume breathing, sleep apnea prevents a decent night’s sleep. Some of the other symptoms you may notice if you have sleep apnea include daytime fatigue and drowsiness, a persistent headache, and a sore throat upon waking. Other common complaints are moodiness and difficulty concentrating.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition. Because you are essentially sleep deprived and drowsy, falling asleep while driving is a real risk. Additionally, sleep apnea is linked with high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

To properly diagnose sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider and ask for a referral to a sleep study center. Once you have your diagnosis, return to our Glendale dental office and discuss your options with Dr. Narra. She may recommend a type of night guard that helps treat sleep apnea so you can breathe easier.

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