Good Sleep Starts Here

Snoring & Sleep Apnea Solutions in Nashville

If you struggle to sleep through the night, you might blame the comfort of your bed, work stress, noisy neighbors and other factors before even considering medical assessment.

The reality is that many people in Nashville suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea. At Belle Meade Smile Center, you’ll the specific medical treatment you need to get a good night’s sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 18 million adults in America alone have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

If you experience sleep apnea, you suffer from a condition in which your throat muscles do not function properly during sleep. They temporarily but repeatedly collapse back into your throat, obstructing your airways and causing breathing issues.

The brain senses this disruption and forces the body to wake up, preventing you from getting the full, deep sleep you need.

This process is hard on the human body and can result in excessive tiredness throughout the day, even if you did not fully wake during the night. Most sufferers of sleep apnea only notice symptoms the next day, like a dry mouth and throat, fatigue and irritability.

Those with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for numerous health conditions, including heart attack or heart failure, stroke, diabetes, depression and headaches.

With sleep apnea treatment at Belle Meade Smile Center, we can help you find the most effective solution for your sleep apnea so you can sleep through the night.

Benefits of Treatment

There are multiple benefits of sleep apnea treatment, such as:

  • Helping you snore less
  • Helping you breathe normally and sleep deeply
  • Preventing you from gasping for air during sleep
  • Relieving morning headaches
  • Helping you get the sleep you need each night
  • Helping you feel more energized each day

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that has more risks than just loud snoring. Since many people may not realize they have sleep apnea or assume they do not need professional treatment, they might continue to struggle with the condition until treated.

The talented team at Belle Meade Smile Center can treat and share more information about sleep apnea if you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, loud snoring, or obstructed breathing during sleep.

Identifying Sleep Apnea

There are a few obvious symptoms that people can watch out for and that doctors may ask about.

Perhaps the most noticeable indicator of sleep apnea is heavy snoring. More subtle signs include feeling exhausted throughout the day even if you think you got enough sleep the night before.

Sleep apnea is often observed and identified through a sleep study, which allows a medical professional to monitor your breathing, heart rate, brain activity and oxygen levels throughout the night. Through such evaluations, it can be determined if the patient actually suffers from sleep apnea or another form of sleeping disorder, as well as which type of sleep apnea is present in the individual.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the disorder and occurs when the airway becomes blocked and breathing is impaired. Central sleep apnea is more rare and happens when the brain fails to signal the lungs to breathe during sleep.

Once you have been identified as having sleep apnea, treatment at our Nashville office can begin to help you maintain steady breathing throughout the night.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

Depending on the severity of your case, there are several options for effective treatment.

First and foremost, patients can make positive and healthy lifestyle changes to set themselves up for success, like exercising regularly, losing weight and avoiding drug and excessive alcohol use. One possible solution is to simply sleep in a side-lying position to prevent airway blockage while sleeping.

Many individuals find success in receiving a customized oral appliance from a dental specialist to help align the jaw or stabilize the tongue during sleep. For more serious cases, a CPAP machine may be prescribed to be worn at night and provide consistent positive air pressure to maintain breathing.

In some situations, surgery may be required to repair abnormalities in the nasal passage, mouth or throat.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

There are many different reasons a person may have obstructive sleep apnea. It can happen to anyone, although it is more common in men than women.

Often, people with this condition are completely unaware of it. However, there are certain risk factors people can watch for, including the following hereditary aspects and lifestyle habits:

  • Being overweight
  • A small airway
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive smoking or drinking
  • Asthma

Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help individuals keep breathing while asleep, and the Belle Meade Smile Center team will help you find the treatment that’s right for your individual case.

Don’t Ignore Your Sleep Apnea

It is estimated that over 20 million Americans live with obstructive sleep apnea. Though the most obvious primary symptoms of OSA are snoring and gasping for air in the middle of the night, the condition causes several secondary symptoms that can negatively affect one's quality of life.

Those who suffer OSA can experience brief bouts of wakefulness up to 30 times an hour throughout the night, and may face several life-altering and possibly life-threatening consequences.

Daytime Fatigue

Even if a person gets the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, sleep apnea causes interrupted sleep, which results in daytime fatigue. Daytime fatigue is characterized by concentration problems, memory issues, irritability and lack of productivity. It may also cause a person to fall asleep at inconvenient or even dangerous times.

Type 2 Diabetes

Just as lack of sleep can affect the body's ability to balance eating hormones, so too can it affect the body's ability to regulate insulin. When the body fails to regulate insulin, a person's risk for developing diabetes increases exponentially. In fact, research suggests that 80% or more of people who live with diabetes also have OSA.

Heart Disease

Sleep apnea disrupts how the body takes in oxygen, which leads to low oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels, combined with the stress that comes with interrupted sleep, increase one's risk for heart attack and stroke.

Weight Gain

Individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to gain weight than those who do not have the condition. The weight gain is the result of several factors.

Not only does sleep deprivation slow down your metabolism and digestion, but a sleep-deprived individual has less energy to work out or to prepare healthy meals.

Additionally, sleep deprivation causes a hormone imbalance that interrupts natural eating cycles, meaning that your body will send you more signals to keep eating and fewer signals to stop eating.

High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure or make an existing condition worse. When a person has to constantly wake to catch their breath, the body become stressed. Stress makes the body's hormones go into overdrive, which raises blood pressure levels. Conversely, treatment for OSA can help regulate blood pressure levels.