Sleep apnea robs people of vitality, health, and sometimes life itself. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are very likely to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, even while driving. Heavy snoring disrupts your sleep and that of your family. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a surprisingly common, debilitating, treatable and potentially fatal problem that frequently goes unrecognized. You don’t have to waste your prime years; treatment for sleep apnea can restore health and vigor so you can have the energy to do the things you enjoy in your life.
Snoring is not necessarily sleep apnea
It is important to distinguish between snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Many people snore but they don’t have sleep apnea. It’s estimated that approximately 30% to 50% of the population snores at one time or another. Still, loud habitual snoring is usually a precursor to OSA. Even a social inconvenience like snoring can require treatment, and there are several options available to chronic snorers at Today’s Family Dentistry.
Identifying and treating sleep disorders
Unlike simple snoring, obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder that requires medical attention. The risks of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and decreased libido. In addition, OSA causes daytime drowsiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems. The symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe.
During sleep, the upper airway can be obstructed by excess tissue, large tonsils and/or a large tongue. Also contributing to the problem may be the airway muscles, which relax and collapse during sleep, nasal passages, and the position of the jaw. The cessation of breathing, or “apnea,” brought about by these factors initiates impulses from the brain to awaken the person just enough to restart the breathing process.This cycle repeats itself many times during the night. Sleep apnea is generally defined as the presence of more than 30 apneas during a seven hour sleep. In severe cases, periods of not breathing may last for as long as 60 to 90 seconds and may recur up to 500 times a night. Here is a great video to help you visualize what happens to a person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea during sleep:
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea
Those who have OSA are often unaware of their condition and think they sleep well. The symptoms that usually cause these individuals to seek help are daytime drowsiness or complaints of snoring and breathing cessations observed by a bed partner. Other symptoms may include:
- Snoring with pauses in breathing (apnea)
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Restless sleep
- Problem with mental function
- Poor judgement/can’t focus
- Memory loss
- Quick to anger
- High blood pressure
- Night-time chest pain
- Problem with excess weight
- Large neck (>17″ around in men, >16″ around in women)
- Airway crowding
- Morning headaches
- Reduced libido
- Frequent trips to the bathroom at night
Somnodent & Narval are the top 2 dental sleep appliances in use today due to increased comfort, flexibility and effectiveness when treating simple to moderate sleep disorders.