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Tossing, turning, snoring and waking up “foggy” and/or “cloudy” might mean more than just a bad night’s sleep, especially if it is happening on a regular basis. For many, sleep apnea is to blame for these symptoms. With sleep apnea, your breathing is disrupted while you are asleep. The results range from short-term sleepiness to long-term health risks. You’d be surprised by how common this condition is with adults and in children — and how it can affect you. Sleep apnea is more common than you think because it often goes undiagnosed. This is particularly true for the most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your airway gets blocked or constricted while you sleep. The stereotype of a sleep apnea patient is an overweight or obese man who snores. While there’s some truth to that, as obesity is a major risk factor and sleep apnea does affect more men in general, studies show that the stereotype falls apart with age. Females are also susceptible to sleep apnea, especially post-menopause.

Why is sleep apnea often overlooked?

Because its symptoms are so broad. Beyond sleep disruptions and other nighttime symptoms, you may also have depression, fatigue, trouble concentrating, a dry mouth and sore throat, or any number of other symptoms. Sleep apnea disrupts more than just your good night’s sleep and hard day’s work. Over time, it’s a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other serious conditions. If you have symptoms — or a spouse or partner notices that you repeatedly stop breathing at night — ask your dentist about a consultation or even scheduling an overnight sleep study. A consultation along with a study are the only way to accurately diagnose sleep apnea, especially since so many symptoms overlap with other conditions. There are ways to deal with sleep apnea. Weight loss can help, since obesity is a risk factor. Avoiding or reducing alcohol and other sedatives and making a change in sleep habits are solutions to consider when dealing with Sleep Apnea. Know that Smile On Chicago can help. Our specialist OSA program can provide you with up-to-date information on treating OSA with Oral Appliances and help you understand the condition. Contact our staff today to schedule your Sleep Apnea consultation.

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