Sleep Apnea Walnut Creek

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Walnut Creek Dr. Julia Lee

Sleep apnea is a very common disorder in which your breathing pauses or becomes unhealthily shallow while you sleep. During these periods of several seconds to over a minute, your body is starving for oxygen. Just as if you were being strangled by a stranger in your bed, your body panics and reacts. Your heart races, and your adrenaline pumps, and you spring awake, or at least to a very restless level of sleep. These violent sleep disruptions can occur dozens of times every hour, all night long. Sleep apnea sufferers frequently snore and make loud choking or gasping sounds all night. Many patients of Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee are not aware they have sleep apnea, but they are painfully aware of the symptoms and the weight on their happiness and quality of life.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea sufferers usually have no recollection of choking or waking up multiple times every hour. Because your heart accelerates dozens to hundreds of times each night, and because you are unable to return to deep and rejuvenating sleep, you wake up exhausted. You need sleep to form long-term memories and focus your mind; a lack of sleep disrupts your mental clarity. Physical and mental exhaustion manifests in several negative ways; when screening for this affliction, Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee and his professional staff at Walnut Creek Family & Cosmetic Dental look for the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness in the morning
  • Desire or need to take a nap mid-day
  • Dozing off any time before bedtime
  • Ongoing physical fatigue
  • Chronic depression
  • Regular irritability
  • Poor concentration and ADHD behavior
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Difficulty remembering simple facts or schedules
  • Sexual dysfunction or libido loss
  • Weight gain
  • Increased incidents of illness
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Snoring or audibly choking at night

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. For a more detailed discussion and sleep apnea screening, please contact Walnut Creek dentist Dr. Julia Lee at Walnut Creek Family & Cosmetic Dental today (925) 930-8488.

Sleep Apnea Consequences

In addition wrecking your quality of life and mental well-being, unchecked sleep apnea can takes a severe toll on your body. Sleep apnea repeatedly accelerates your heart when you should be resting. This can ruin your cardiovascular system and metabolism, leading to the following serious or fatal medical conditions:

  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart Arrhythmia
  • Car crashes

Sleep apnea sufferers are up to 700% more likely to have an automobile accident than drunk drivers. Some studies suggest that patients suffering from sleep apnea for a decade or more will lose 20% to 50% of their natural lifespans. Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee treats this condition very seriously and requests you call for a sleep apnea consultation if you suspect you are at risk. Please contact Walnut Creek Family & Cosmetic Dental today to learn more about our simple sleep apnea screening and dental treatment for sleep apnea (925) 930-8488.

Sleep Apnea Causes

Sleep apnea is almost always caused by a physical blockage of your airway, which is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This occurs when the soft tissue in your throat becomes loose or larger and repeatedly flops back to block your airways. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids take up airways space and can contribute to sleep apnea. Increased weight also increases the weight in you cheeks and neck, which can drive your jaw back and block your airway. An especially narrow palate, which is often genetic or a result of orthodontic treatment, can leave little room for the tongue, consequently driving it back into the airway during sleep. A few sleep apnea sufferers may simply be born with an abnormally small airway. Much more rare is Central Sleep Apnea, in which your brain does not always send proper signals to your muscles that control breathing. Regardless of the root cause of obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance created by Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee can treat it by opening the airway and allowing for natural and necessary airflow.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Sleep apnea can affect anybody of any age. The National Sleep Foundation estimates 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and this includes children. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicate puts this number at 25 million. It’s difficult to say what percent of people have sleep apnea, because about 90% of sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed. Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee is tying to reverse this trend, as are many sleep apnea trained dentists nationwide, but it’s a big problem to tackle. If any of the following apply to you, you may be at increased risk of sleep apnea:

  • Excess weight, as fat deposits in your cheeks can exert further pressure on your jaw to slide back and obstruct your airway
  • Neck circumference greater than 17 inches (43cm), which exerts more weight on your jaw and airway
  • Use of alcohol or sedatives, which overly relax your neck muscles and allow them to more easily collapse into your airway
  • Smoking, which narrows the throat and increases the inflammation and fluid retention within (smokers are 300% more likely to have sleep apnea)
  • Naturally narrow airway, due to genetics or the presence of large tonsils and adenoids (which can easily be removed)
  • Old age, as our tissue becomes looser with age and more likely so slip back into our airway
  • Being male, as men are twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea compared to women

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Traditionally sleep apnea has been treated with a C-PAP. This device firmly wraps around your nose, mouth, and chin (similar to a pilot mask), and forces air down your throat as you sleep. This positive air pressure inflates and opens your airway. It also makes many patients feel claustrophobic and unable to sleep. Furthermore, it’s difficult to have a normal relationship sleeping next to somebody while wearing a full face mask while hooked to a noisy air compressor.

Dr. Julia Lee Specializes in SomnoDent Sleep Apnea Appliances

SomnoMed provides treatment solutions for Sleep-related Breathing Disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, snoring and bruxism. Supporting independent clinical research, continuous innovation and instituting medical manufacturing standards has resulted in SomnoDent® becoming the state-of-the-art and clinically proven medical oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). More than 300,000 patients around the world have treated their mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with SomnoDent oral device therapy. Worn during sleep and fitted by Walnut Creek Sleep Apnea Dentist Dr. Julia Lee, the SomnoDent line of oral appliances are customized to offer superior comfort and quality to each individual patient.

With SomnoDent Appliances, Dr. Julia Lee keeps the patient at the center of her focus and know that successful treatment is much more than just the device.

Walnut Creek sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee treats obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance. This bio-compatible, FDA-approved, clinically tested device snaps on to your upper and lower teeth and advances your jaw forward. Try to make a snoring sound. Now push your jaw far forward and try to make it again… You see now how easily sleep apnea dentist Dr. Julia Lee can treat sleep apnea! Before beginning sleep apnea treatment at Walnut Creek Family & Cosmetic Dental, we first need a recent sleep study and a simple in-office evaluation.

Learn more about sleep apnea treatments when you visit Walnut Creek Family & Cosmetic Dental. Call Walnut Creek Dentist Dr. Julia Lee at (925) 930-8488 to schedule a consultation today!