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What is Sleep Apnea? – Longview, TX

Why are You Having Trouble Sleeping?

Man on his side snoring with sleep apnea in Longview, TX

Many of the 22 million Americans who have sleep apnea don’t even realize that they’re suffering from a sleep disorder at first. Perhaps you have a spouse who frequently complains about your snoring. Or maybe you wake up feeling tired every morning even when you went to bed on time. The symptoms might seem relatively mild at first, but if you don’t get them under control, your health and the quality of your life could take a significant downturn. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, call Dr. Stoddard today; he can offer a solution in the form of an oral appliance.

Sleep Apnea Facts

Red-haired woman snoring in bed, man covering ears

Sleep apnea is condition that occurs when your breathing is repeatedly interrupted at night. While this can occasionally be due to the brain’s failure to send the proper signals to the muscles controlling your lungs, most of the time it’s linked to a physical obstruction of the airway – typically when the soft tissues near the back of the mouth or throat collapse. You can stop breathing for as long as one minute at a time during a sleep apnea episode, and said episodes can occur multiple times during the night.

It is thought that about 80 percent of patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea do not get properly diagnosed and treated because they didn’t realize they were suffering from it in the first place. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Snoring loudly on a frequent basis.
  • Occasionally waking up choking or gasping for air. (You may do this more frequently than you realize; most awakenings due to sleep apnea are brief and quickly forgotten.)
  • Experiencing headaches, dry mouth, or a sore throat in the morning.
  • Feeling sleepy and fatigued all throughout the day.
  • Cognitive problems like not being able to concentrate, frequent memory loss, and mood swings.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea

Oral appliance used to treat sleep apnea on black background

The symptoms of sleep apnea can also point to other health problems. That’s why if you have any reason to think you might have a sleep disorder, you should find a sleep doctor who can give you a proper diagnosis. This is normally done through a sleep study that measures your breathing and other vital signs during the night.

Once a diagnosis has been made, you can start exploring your treatment options. While you might have heard of CPAP therapy as a solution for sleep apnea, Dr. Stoddard can offer an alternative for patients who have trouble tolerating CPAP machines. Oral appliances are customized to fit comfortably in your mouth and will gently reposition your jaw and/or tongue to keep your airway open during the night.