We don’t get political in our blog, but some of you may be aware of legislation introduced recently to require train engineers to be tested for sleep apnea.
A little over a year ago, a train accident in New Jersey killed a woman and caused 110 people to be injured. The engineer in that incident suffered from sleep apnea. This wasn’t the first train accident in which sleep apnea was considered a factor, and those accidents aren’t limited to railways, either.
Multiple studies have shown that people who have untreated sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in car and truck accidents, too. Regardless of what you think of the proposed legislation, it would be in your best interest — and safer for other drivers — to get treated sooner rather than later.
If you have sleep apnea, Dr. Mark W. Wilhelm can help. We offer sleep apnea treatment at our dentist office in Woodbury, MN. Call (651) 319-9064 or contact us online if you like to schedule a consultation.
Signs & Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. It prevents you from getting deep, quality sleep that you need to feel rested when you wake up.
When you have sleep apnea, you can stop breathing hundreds of times every night. When this happens, you often wake up briefly so you can take a few breaths before you drift back off and the cycle starts again.
You may not have any memory of this happening, but there is a good chance that your spouse, partner, or roommates are quite aware of it.
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is loud, constant snoring. That snoring could be keeping other people from getting healthy sleep, too.
And if they are awake, they may have also noticed your frequent breathing stoppages when you are asleep. This can be concerning for anyone to hear.
Since you are not able to get deep, quality sleep, you may also suffer from sleep deprivation. That can lead to daytime sleepiness, which can be embarrassing at work or, as noted above, dangerous behind the wheels of a car or the controls of a train.
Your poor quality sleep also can leave you feeling easily irritated and prone to frequent morning headaches.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please contact Dr. Wilhelm’s office today to set up an appointment as soon as you are able.
Sleep Apnea And Your Health
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about sleep apnea in our blog, and it probably won’t be the last time either.
The reason is because we care about the people in our community. It’s also because we want you to live a healthy, enjoyable life for as long as you can.
When left untreated, falling asleep at inopportune times is not the only risk that comes with sleep apnea. People with this condition are more likely to have:
▸ High blood pressure
▸ Heart disease
▸ Heart attacks
▸ Cardiovascular disease
When you stop breathing so often, it puts stress on your body. And that kind of stress is detrimental to your overall health.
Diagnosing & Treating Sleep Apnea
During your consultation, Dr. Wilhelm will discuss your sleep habits and your medical history. He will examine you using pharyngometry, which is a means of assessing your airway. The anatomy of this area can affect how likely you are to have sleep apnea.
If he determines that you may have this condition, Dr. Wilhelm can refer you to a trusted sleep clinic for a formal sleep test. This will give you a more definitive idea if you have sleep apnea.
If you do have this sleep disorder, there are three ways we can help.
■ CPAP machines provide continuous positive airway pressure to keep your airway open so you can keep breathing throughout the night. You will wear a mask while you sleep when you use this machine.
■ For patients who have difficulty using a CPAP machine, we can create a custom-designed oral appliance. This works by adjusting the position of your jaw with the aim of keeping your airway as open as possible.
■ We also over a combination treatment with a special mask that includes an oral appliance, so you can get the benefits of both treatments at the same time.