Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a commonly undiagnosed sleep disorder that affects an estimated 18 million Americans.1 With sleep apnea, your breathing pauses or becomes very shallow, causing you to move out of deep sleep and into light sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and increased fatigue. Untreated OSA can increase your risk of health problems including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, obesity, and diabetes.2 It may also contribute to morning headaches, irritability, snoring, and dry mouth/sore throat.3
According to J. Michael Owen, DDS, FAGD, and Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson, “Dentists are often the first professional to become aware of a potential problem since they are usually in contact with their patients more frequently than are physicians.”
So, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, mention them to Dr. Leonard during your next visit. In combination with an oral exam, he may be able to determine whether you should be checked out by a sleep apnea specialist. Communicating these symptoms is especially important if you are at higher risk for sleep apnea. Risk factors include4:
Set up a routine visit with Dr. Leonard by calling our office at 952-443-3368.
1National Sleep Foundation. (2016). Sleep Apnea. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea
2National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2012). What is Sleep Apnea? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea
3KnowYourTeeth. (Jan 2012). A Dentist’s Role in Sleep Apnea. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=S&iid=330&aid=5511
4Mayo Clinic. (25 Aug 2015). Diseases and Conditions: Sleep apnea. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/risk-factors/con-20020286