Do you wake up breathless?

July 13th, 2016


Do you often feel sleepy or fatigued throughout the day for no reason? Or snore loudly and wake up short of breath in the middle of the night? Then you may experience sleep apnea, a condition that stops your breathing periodically while you sleep (up to 20-30 times per hour).

When you stop breathing, your brain wakes you up due to the lack of oxygen in order to restart your breathing. Many people don't remember waking up in the middle of the night, so they think they're getting enough sleep but end up feeling drowsy during the day.

Sleep apnea, a serious medical problem, can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart failure and stroke. The drowsiness during the day can be dangerous for driving or cause complications with medications or surgery.

Some symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • loud snoring
  • waking up breathless
  • snorting or choking sounds
  • headaches when waking up
  • falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  •  extreme drowsiness throughout the day

The three types of sleep apnea are:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (due to collapsing of soft tissue in the back of the throat)
  2. Central sleep apnea (CSA) (muscles don't receive proper brain signal)
  3. "Mixed" or "complex" sleep apnea (combination of obstructive and central)

Risk factors include:

  • OSA is more common in males and in older adults (40+)
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • using tranquilizers/sedatives
  • family history
  • heart disorders
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • strokes
  • brain tumors

Treatment options:

  • losing weight
  • stop smoking
  • sleep on side instead of on back
  • oral devices
  • surgery (if severe)

Please contact our office so we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist if you suspect that someone you know suffers from this medical problem.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.


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