Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be a frustrating habit. It could also be something much more serious. Patients of Ardmore dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall can obtain the testing and treatment they need to avoid the complications of the common sleep condition sleep apnea.
What is snoring?
Nearly 90 million people in our country snore, many of them on a regular basis. Snoring is the noise that one makes when he sleeps. The nocturnal habit may develop in a child, teen, or adult of any age.
What causes someone to snore?
The relaxation that occurs when we sleep is what causes snoring. The muscles around the throat loosen, and the tongue relaxes back toward the throat. The throat also “softens,” becoming more narrow when we sleep. These factors can create prime conditions for vibration in tissues as air passes through the airway.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea may sound a lot like snoring, but it can be significantly more concerning. When a person snores, sounds are made as air vibrates over soft tissues. Sleep apnea involves pauses in breathing. No air passing through. No oxygen reaching the brain – sometimes for several seconds at a time.
This condition is categorized as a sleep disorder with two types:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is related to mechanics. It is similar to snoring because it occurs then the structures around the throat block the airway completely.
- Central sleep apnea originates in the brain, where signals to breathe are inhibited during sleep.
Central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea may occur simultaneously. Diagnostic evaluation enables us to determine if mechanical assistance would improve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea are similar among both types. This is because many are related to the continual disruption of sleep that occurs each night. Some of the warning signs that you or a loved one may be struggling to breathe at night include:
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- A general sense of being “unwell”
- Morning headaches
Children may also experience sleep apnea. It may present itself in the form of bed wetting, ADHD, daytime sleepiness, heavy breathing while sleeping or very restless sleep.
What factors increase your risk of Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common among men, as is snoring. However, there are several risk factors for this condition, including:
- Narrowed airway due to genetics, large tonsils and adenoids, or other factors.
- Smoking significantly increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea due to inflammation.
- Advanced age.
- Use of sedatives or consumption of alcohol before bed.
- Larger neck circumference.
Home Sleep Apnea Test
Dr. Marshall offers the medibyte home apnea test to patients who exhibit clinical symptoms of this condition. This small, easy-to-use device monitors important data including respiratory effort, body position, snore, flow, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation. Patients who use a CPAP device may also obtain a measurement of the pressure and flow of their machine.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The standard medical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, restores proper mechanics by forcing air into the airway. The consistent delivery of air with CPAP provides adequate pressure to prevent the closure of the airway. While effective, this method of care may not be tolerated well by all patients.
MicrO2 Sleep & Snore Appliance for Sleep Apnea
MicrO2 treatment also corrects mechanical issues in the airway. It does so by creating the ideal position of the lower jaw. A forward-position in the jaw extends to the tongue, keeping that structure out of the airway. Tissues in the throat are also tightened when the device is in place, making it possible for air to flow continually while you sleep.
What if I don’t treat my sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea presents health risks if not treated. In addition to chronic fatigue, this condition increases one’s risk for secondary health concerns, such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.