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The muscles in your throat support the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and the side walls of the throat and tongue. When you sleep, the throat muscles relax, collapsing the tissues they normally support. If these tissues block the airway, it becomes a disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. This condition can interrupt breathing while you sleep.

Problems Sleep Apnea Can Cause

Not breathing obviously has an effect on the health of your body. If sleep apnea remains untreated, it can cause problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • A worsening of ADHD

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

If may be hard to tell if you have sleep apnea because it occurs while you are unconscious. However, there are a few signs you can look out for such as:

  • Loud snoring
  • Your partner notices that you stop breathing while you sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • You awake abruptly during the night, gasping for breath
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • You wake with a sore throat or dry mouth

Treatments For Sleep Apnea

Visit your dentist if you think you have developed sleep apnea. They can suggest solutions for treatment such as:

  • Wearing an oral appliance while you sleep
  • Using a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) device while you sleep
  • Undergoing surgery to the upper airway, nose, or mouth

There are also some simple treatments you can do yourself such as sleeping on your side, losing weight, or quitting smoking.