Loud snoring affects nearly 90 million Americans — and their sleeping partners. Beyond being annoying, snoring is associated with poor sleep quality and, in about half of all cases, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available, including one from your dentist’s office.
While obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) almost always causes loud snoring, snoring itself doesn’t guarantee that you have OSA. To differentiate between standard snoring issues and the more serious indication of OSA, take a closer look at your snoring.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA?)
Sleep apnea obstructs your airway and ability to breathe, causing you to wake up in order to start breathing again. Regular snoring, while keeping your non-snoring partner awake, won’t typically wake you up. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, gasping for air, or always lethargic during your day, you should be evaluated for OSA.
People with sleep apnea also tend to snore more regularly and loudly. They may even momentarily stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Talk to your partner. If they notice these snoring signs during your sleep, it is time to consult with our sleep center about the likelihood of sleep apnea.
What are the Health Risks of OSA?
If you suffer from OSA, your risk for diabetes, heart issues, depression and other serious conditions increases significantly. The constant pauses in breathing are also known to have an effect on the brain. Untreated sleep apnea can cause memory problems, moodiness, and difficulty concentrating. On an interpersonal level, the snoring and gasping associated with obstructive sleep apnea can be hard on personal relationships.
CPAP therapy, a mask-and-hose device that delivers pressurized air through the nose and mouth, is the standard recommended treatment for severe cases of sleep apnea. However, special oral appliances, available from our doctor, are also highly effective. For many people, oral appliances feel less intrusive in mild to moderate OSA cases. They gently position the jaw forward and keep the tongue from rolling back and obstructing the airway.
Oral appliances can be used in conjunction with CPAPs: if a patient removes the CPAP mask during sleep, the oral appliance can be used as a backup. The appliance, which resembles a nightguard, is also handy for travel.
Are you ready to take the first step towards more restful sleep and better overall health? Schedule an appointment with our Glen Burnie sleep apnea office today.