Waking up gasping or short of breath is a common symptom of sleep apnea, but many people living with this chronic condition do not know they have it. Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose, as the condition only occurs while you sleep. People often think they are just aging and tired, when the truth is far more sinister. Without treatment, the condition can lead to fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, a higher risk of stroke, and motor vehicle accidents, putting overall health at risk. If you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea, it is time to seek potentially life-saving treatment.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes the airway to collapse during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea often find themselves waking up short of breath, gasping or choking. These lapses in breath can occur more than 30 times an hour, disrupting sleep and causing the person to feel drowsy the next day.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, but many patients experience intolerance to this device and search for other options. We offer mandibular sleep appliances as a treatment alternative. These oral appliances keep the airway open while you sleep by moving the lower jaw forward to prevent the obstruction that causes breathing to stop.
Dr. Rebecca Orsini of Empower Dental is a Member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.