What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes pauses in breath while sleeping that can leave you snoring loudly or feeling tired after you wake up. The most common form of sleep apnea, affecting some 30 million people across the U.S., is called “Obstructive Sleep Apnea” (or OSA). OSA happens when your airway collapses during sleep, causing shallow breathing or pauses. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Is Snoring a Sign of a Bigger Problem?
Millions of Americans suffer from consistent snoring while asleep. Often, snoring can be dismissed as a natural part of aging. While it’s true that snoring can increase over time with age and weight gain, it should not be accepted as an ordinary and standard juncture in life. While some can be categorized as “simple snorers” or “primary snorers”, many have a serious sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It can and often should be treated – for the sake of the snorer and their partner.
Adverse Affects of Snoring
Snoring Can Affect your Health
Loud snoring is often a sign of a bigger issue, sleep apnea, which is a condition in which one stops breathing for brief periods throughout the night. This can reduce the amount of oxygen available to the body, which then increases inflammation and can lead to a range of health problems. In addition to severe fatigue, studies suggests that sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiac problems and/or stroke.
Snoring Could Be Causing Issues in Your Relationship
Unfortunately, yes, consistently snoring while sleeping can cause issues in your relationship, especially if your spouse or partner is losing sleep as a result. It is important to understand that loud snoring is a telltale sign of sleep apnea, and typical leads to keeping your sleeping-partner awake at night. The good news is, relief is available. You do not have to continue suffering with this issue, there are ways to end snoring and the affects it may be having in your relationship. To learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, or to schedule a consultation, call 215-884-3477 or request an appointment today!
Common Causes and Effects of Sleep Apnea
An estimated 30 million Americans snore when they sleep. While snoring is relatively harmless, it can be a telltale sign of sleep apnea. Keeping track of interruptions in breathing, and the volume, frequency, and impact that snoring has on your sleeping partner are ways to identify if you have the condition. There are additional contributing causes of sleep apnea you can look for as well, such as:
- Excess weight: Excess weight can form fat deposits in the neck called pharyngeal fat. This type of fat can block your upper airway during sleep when it is relaxed.
- Family History: OSA is a hereditary condition. If one of your family members had the affliction, you could also acquire it through inherited traits such as obesity and a recessed jaw.
- Smoking: People who smoke are three times more likely to have sleep apnea. Smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
- Nasal Congestion: If you have a chronic condition that causes nasal congestion, you are twice as likely to experience sleep apnea as someone who does not. Nasal congestion narrows the airways, making even regular breathing difficult.
Sleep apnea can dramatically impact your overall health if untreated by dental and medical professionals. It may cause various side effects that interfere with your ability to perform day-to-day functions. The most common side effects of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime Sleepiness, Fatigue & Drowsiness: Sleep apnea cuts off your oxygen supply when you sleep. Your body recognizes this and wakes you up multiple times during the night. These interruptions cause a lack of sound sleep and unwelcome disruptions to your sleeping pattern, leading to extreme daytime drowsiness.
- Headaches & Depression: Sleep apnea can take a psychological toll as well. The condition interrupts restorative sleep. This lack of necessary rest can cause irritability, memory loss, and even depression.
- High Blood Pressure: Your body goes into “fight or flight mode” during sleep apnea. This struggle weakens the cardiovascular system and increases blood pressure.
- Obesity: Excess weight gain causes your muscles to work harder to control breathing. This overexertion can tax your body and leave it vulnerable to stroke, diabetes, and other conditions.
- Heart Attack: When your breathing stops, your blood gets less oxygen. This lack of oxygen negatively affects your regular heartbeat and can cause irregularities in rhythm.
Treating Sleep Apnea and Snoring: Dr. Mona Patel in Abington, PA
Dr. Mona Patel of Mona N. Patel Distinctive Dentistry, a Simply Beautiful Smiles affiliate in Abington, PA, continuously develops innovative treatments for her patients. Her dental office integrates the latest technology and methods in sleep apnea therapies and invest in ongoing education to reduce the risk of sleep apnea and better our patients’ quality of life. Simply Beautiful Smiles focuses our efforts in three main areas:
- Technology: Patel utilizes rhinometry and pharyngometers when treating sleep apnea. Nasal airflow is checked with the rhinometer to determine if there are issues that need to addressed with an ear, nose, and throat ENT specialist. The pharyngometer is a machine that allows us to see the collapsibility of the airway through acoustic technology. The pharyngometer can determine the need for airway management and increase the predictability of oral appliance therapy. It determines the optimal therapeutic position for the appliance and removes the guesswork from conventional treatment.
- Education: Patel educates other dentists and their teams teaching for Sleep Group Solutions and Clinical Mastery series. She teaches dentists and their teams about identifying our oral conditions related to sleep apnea and how our appliance therapy can help people sleep better.
- Patient Care: Patel’s personalized sleep apnea treatment plans create predictability to patients’ outcomes, minimizes follow-up visits, and sets appropriate expectations.
To schedule an appointment to seek out treatment options for snoring or sleep apnea, contact the dental office of Mona N. Patel Distinctive Dentistry today!
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