Is Snoring or Sleep Apnea Affecting Your Health? Does Snoring Keep You or Your Partner Awake at Night?
Snoring is often dismissed as an annoyance, but it can be a sign of a very serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. OSA affects about two-thirds of all adults and can lead to serious medical problems.
Snoring is caused by a blocked airway. The tongue and soft palate can fall backward during sleep and fully or partially block the airway. The body then struggles to obtain air, which causes the vibration we call snoring. Much of the time the body will continue to get just enough air to avoid harm. However, this condition is one of the signs that sleep apnea may be right around the corner. Sleep apnea sufferers will often snore in between episodes of airway interruption.
Sleep apnea patients are often unaware of what is happening. Apneic episodes can occur between thirty to sixty times a night, causing sufferers to feel exhausted when they wake up, as though they haven’t really been sleeping. In fact, they have spent much of the night fighting for air, so it’s no wonder they feel tired, headachy, and irritable.
Sleep apnea has been known to contribute to a long list of medical conditions including high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, reflux disease, and impotence. In order to find out for sure if you or a loved one has sleep apnea, a sleep study must be done. This will provide us with the information to treat the condition. In conjunction with your physician, we can determine the best treatment for your particular needs. If indicated, we can fit you with an oral appliance to wear while sleeping. This will help to keep the airway open, reducing snoring sounds and reducing the health risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea without the need for surgery or medication. There is better than a 90% success rate for people treated with these appliances.