Do you snore? Does snoring keep your bed partner awake?
Snoring can be a benign nuisance or it can be the first sign of a serious condition.
Did you know that snoring is the number one symptom of sleep apnea?
What is Sleep Apnea?
Medically, snoring can be the precursor of obstructive sleep apnea that has been linked to heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. In its own right, snoring has also been linked to Type II Diabetes.
When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and air flow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep, and low blood oxygen levels.
Nine Reasons To Suspect It May Be More Than Just Snoring
Reason 1: Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
If you tend to drowse off while sitting quietly at home, at work, on the phone or while driving, it could be a sign that you are not getting refreshing sleep at night.
Reason 2: Loud Snoring
Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore but not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Loud snoring also interferes with a bed partner’s sleep and can cause high blood pressure.
Reason 3: Cessation Of Breathing
Your sleeping partner may notice frequent times through the night when you stop breathing. This can occur for a little as 5 times an hour to more than 50 times an hour. The number of times you stop breathing wll determine whether you have mild apnea or severe apnea.
Reason 4: Gasping Or Choking While Sleeping
When the throat collapses during sleep, the brain forces you to partially awaken to breathe. This can happen many times during an hour and keep you from getting the deep sleep you need.
Reason 5: Feeling Unrefreshed In The Morning
Because you are not getting the sleep you need, you may feel more tired in the morning after a night’s sleep than you did the night before. This can also cause problems with memory, concentration and personality changes.
Reason 6: Heartburn Or A Sour Taste In The Morning Or At Night
Many people with sleep apnea regurgitate stomach acid while sleeping. This is known as GERD and can cause problems with your esophagus and your teeth.
Reason 7: Headaches, Sore Throat Or Dry Mouth In The Morning
Almost half the people with sleep apnea have headaches due to a poor night’s sleep.
Reason 8: Sexual Dysfunction
It’s true! Obstructive sleep apnea sufferers may experience a lack of sexual desire because of fatigue. In men, sleep apnea can be a cause of ED.
Reason 9: Sweating And Chest Pain At Night
Cardiac deaths occur in the early morning hours with people who suffer from sleep apnea.
Something else you should be aware of – shirt collar size is a good indicator of sleep apnea especially in people with high blood pressure and those who awake gasping and choking at night. If you are a woman and have a neck size of 16 inches or more , or you are a man with a shirt collar neck size of 17 inches or more and have any of the above reasons to be concerned, please check with your doctor.
Menopause combined with snoring is an indicator of possible sleep apnea.
Diagnosis and treatment
Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a medical doctor. If you or your physician suspects that you have a sleep disorder they will order a sleep study. This can be done as an overnight sleep study in a sleep lab or at home with a home monitoring device. Your physician will make that decision. The overnight study will give your physician more detail information.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. The most common treatment is a c-pap. This is a machine which uses a mask to maintain air flow while you sleep. However, if your condition is mild or you cannot tolerate the c-pap, there is a comfortable and effective alternative. The is an oral appliance which will help open your airway and maintain breathing while you sleep. This appliance is custom fitted and is monitored by a dentist trained in treating sleep apnea.
Treating sleep apnea will not only help maintain your physical health but improve the quality of your life.
Candlewood Dental Care uses Mandibular advancement devices to treat sleep apnea in those who can not tolerate the CPAP machine. As mentioned, sleep apnea occurs when your tongue and soft palate collapse and constrict your air way. These structures are attached to your mandible or lower jaw. So advancing the lower jaw prevents the collapse of the tissue and the closure of the airway allowing you to keep breathing and receiving oxygen throughout the night. Dr. Burio is specially trained in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea with these oral appliances. If you have been diagnosed or have a feeling you suffer from this illness, come ask the Candlewood Dental Care team if this is the right option for you because deciding to wake up feeling rested will be the best decision you make!