The definition of sleep apnea is a disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. The breathing pauses can last for a few seconds up to a minute. A loud snort or choking sounds follows this long pause and then you start breathing again.
This is your mind waking you up just enough to reposition your jaw and throat in order for you to complete a breath. Thus the snorting and choking sounds. Below is a brief video that shows the breathing process and how obstructive sleep apnea interferes with a healthy breath.
Sleep Apnea Causes You to Stop Breathing
To see what severe sleep apnea looks like you can watch the next video. This is an actual sleep apnea patient. Count how long he stops breathing.....
Sleep apnea is commonly misdiagnosed as depression or poor lifestyle choices since doctors cannot detect the disorder during routine visits. It is up to you to tell your physician or your dentist if you have any of the common apnea symptoms. Also, if you feel sleepy during the day, drink a number of cups of coffee to stay awake and alert during work hours or people tell you that you look tired you may want to take our Epworth sleep apnea self-test. This way you can better gauge your sleepiness and discuss it with Dr. Tsai.
Many people don’t realize how much our sleep cycle can impact our overall health from dental health to feeling depressed and irritable. A good night of sleep can change the way you feel and look at the world.
What can you do about your sleep apnea?
So what can you do? And how can we help? First thing to do is fill out a Epworth Sleep Apnea Screening Test (click here). If you score a 10 or higher on the Epworth Sleep Apnea Scale you should schedule an appointment to discuss having a sleep test (Polysomnogram or PSG). Your health insurance plan will most likely cover the cost. If you don’t have health insurance there are many sleep clinics and centers that offer low-cost sleep tests.
Once you have completed a sleep test (PSG) and one of our sleep physicians has confirmed that you have sleep apnea we can discuss your treatment options.