Hi, my name is Nathan and I was having trouble sleeping at night. I would toss and turn all night, snore loudly, and even jump up in a panic, gasping for air. My wife, Natalie, was extremely concerned. For a long time, we didn’t know what was wrong and she thought I was going to die in my sleep.
My wife and I had our regular check up with our dentist at Advanced DDS. We started talking to them about my trouble sleeping. I explained how I was experiencing a dry throat, morning headaches, fatigue during the day and mood swings. He made the last notes on the computer and told me that I may have sleep apnea. At the time, I had no idea what sleep apnea was.
My dentist explained that it’s a common condition in people usually over the age of 40, who are overweight or have a family history of sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, or nasal obstructions. Sleep apnea causes one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while asleep. These breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. Once you’re breathing is back to normal, there is usually a loud snore that follows. I’m glad I came in for my appointment and brought up my recent experience sleeping because sleep apnea can cause a series of health issues ranging from heart attacks and strokes to diabetes, high blood pressure and even depression.
I sat there, my head spinning and thoughts rushing through my mind. What would have happened if I never came in? My health could have declined… I could have had a heart attack?
Oh, my goodness. How would this affect me in the long run? Can my health still decline now?
“Nathan?” my dentist waved at me…
What can be done moving forward? Is there a cure or treatment for this or am I doomed to restless nights and bad health?
“Nathan,” my dentist raised his voice slightly and clapped his hands together.
I came to. My eyes blinked quickly, clearing my blurred vision and erasing the thoughts from my mind. I regained my composure. With a gentle clear of the throat I asked, “Alright, doc. This is a lot to take in. What can be done? My wife is worried about my life and to be frank, I am too. What is in the cards for my health? Is there a treatment?”
My dentist gave me a confident nod, “I understand your concerns and I’d like to reassure you that there are a few treatment options for you. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage in the airway when soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses during sleep. Central occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center. Based on your symptoms, it seems like you might have obstructive sleep apnea but to be sure, I’d like to give you a take home test kit to gather results. Once you do the test, you bring it back to me for review.”
The take home testing kit was very easy and comfortable to wear. Basically, it’s a small device that you strap to your chest before going to sleep for the night. It generates results and stats based on your respiratory system controls.
When I went back to my dentist, he reviewed the results with me and I was officially diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. In the end, a dental device was created for me. It’s like a mouth guard or retainer, made to help keep my airway open. I no longer snore and I breathe easy during my sleep. I am very satisfied with my experience at Advanced DDS. My wife and I get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed every day.
*Disclaimer: this testimonial is a creative writing blog piece. This is not based on a true story. It is meant to be an informative narrative that explains what sleep apnea is, the symptoms of it, the negative health effects, and how it can affect a person’s day to day life.