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January 18, 2012

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Did you know that Dr. Peter Pate treats patients with sleep apnea? In addition to general and cosmetic dentistry, he provides treatment for sleepy Atlantans, too!

What is sleep apnea?

Over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and over 40% of adults snore when they sleep. As we learn more about this sleep disorder, we have discovered that sleep apnea is more common than we thought. While you are sleeping, the soft tissues in your mouth relax. As these tissues relax, they can cause obstruction of your airways. Most patients with sleep apnea are disrupted by breathing cessation during their rest. For a few seconds, or even longer than a minute, you can stop breathing. During the short periods throughout the night that you stop breathing, you awaken from sleep. Some patients also experience choking and gasping during these periods.

So, sleep apnea prevents me from resting?

Yes, sleep apnea disrupts your body’s natural sleep cycle. While you sleep, you progress through stages of light sleep to deep sleep. If you are awakened during a deep sleep phase by sleep apnea, you are preventing your body from the beneficial effects of deep sleep. While you are in these sleep phases, your body is rejuvenating and repairing your organs and tissues. Disrupting this phase can ultimately prevent your body from the rest it needs.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

  • Waking up with headaches
  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Memory loss and inability to function
  • Choking or gasping throughout the night
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Snoring

What should I do if I think I have sleep apnea?

If you think you might have sleep apnea, contact Dr. Pate at (404) 266-9424 for an evaluation. He will assess your situation and recommend treatments to get you feeling rested again. We happily serve patients in Sandy Springs, Buckhead and metro Atlanta.