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Did you know that more than 40 million Americans are plagued with a sleep disorder, with 20 million of them experiencing the harmful effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA? A person with this disorder will suffer from bouts of breathing cessation during sleep that is essentially a form of suffocation.

This potentially deadly sleep disorder deprives the body of needed oxygen, as it stops breathing hundreds of times during the night. This interrupted sleeping pattern can keep your brain and heart from getting the oxygen they need to stay healthy and function properly. In fact, sleep apnea is linked to chronic illnesses and can decrease your life expectancy by 8-10 percent.

Sleep apnea comes in two forms. OSA, as we mentioned above, which is the most prevalent kind and arises from a blocked airway, which develops when the soft tissues in the lower part of your throat and neck collapse while you sleep. The other kind of sleep apnea is referred to as central sleep apnea, which is when your brain doesn’t send out signals to your muscles to breathe.

As you can imagine, both of these disorders stress your body’s normal, healthy function. Along with increasing your risk of cancer, OSA is linked to hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat and stroke. Risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea include:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a thick neck
  • Having a narrow airway in the throat
  • Being a male (however, a woman’s risk rises if overweight and postmenopausal)
  • Being older
  • Genetics (family members with sleep apnea)
  • Use alcohol or sedatives
  • Smoke regularly
  • Have chronic nasal congestion

So how do you know if you are currently afflicted with undiagnosed OSA? There are indicators that you may need an evaluation to rule out this destructive sleep disorder. You might have sleep apnea if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Loud snoring, even waking yourself up from snoring
  • Interrupted breathing or gasping for air in your sleep
  • Having to go to the bathroom more than twice during the night
  • Waking up with dry lips, a dry mouth, and a sore throat
  • Migraine-like headaches when you wake up
  • Tossing and turning and not being able to go to sleep
  • Excessive drowsiness during the day
  • Anxiety or depression from lack of sleep

If you have any of these symptoms, we invite you to reach out to our experienced team today to see how our dentists, Drs. Jared Hill and Jerel Hill can help. We have successfully helped patients in Orem, Utah, and the surrounding areas of Provo, Pleasant Grove, and Vineyard, Utah, sleep better and improve their overall health.

Our skilled dentists are qualified to diagnose and treat your snoring and OSA using a simple dental appliance, which is ideal if you can’t tolerate a CPAP machine, and you have mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you think you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, please call Hill Family Dental today at 801-225-7110. We look forward to helping you get a good night’s sleep for a healthier life.