Is snoring keeping you or your loved ones awake?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring is one of the most common signs of a serious disease called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition is when the muscles of the neck and the throat block the airway. There is no exchange of oxygen and the body, organs, heart and brain and deprived of oxygen. The brain signal the body to wake up to breath. The patient is aroused just enough to clear the airway. The patient does not know they are awaking hundreds of times a night. This segmented non-restful sleep along with oxygen restrictions are of major health consequences. While many people ignore snoring as something common and comical, it should not be dismissed.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common condition that affects nearly 23 million American adults with almost 80 % of those cases going undiagnosed.
The huge problem is that many patients do not know they are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms because they are asleep at the time. Your most reliable initial source of clues that you might have OSA is your partner.
Sleep Apnea Risks
Many people fail to understand how serious the condition may be. Left untreated, sleep apnea can be a major contributing factor to many serious health conditions, including:
- Heart Attacks
- Heart Failure
- High Blood Pressure
- Irregular Heartbeat
Other results of untreated OSA can involve chronic sleep deprivation, excessive fatigue, loss of productivity, falling asleep at work, drowsy driving, mood swings, weight gain, irritability, dry mouth, memory loss and an inability to stay awake for things that are important to you. Most people with this chronic condition frequently complain about waking up tired even after a full night’s sleep.
Your bed partner can let you know whether or not you’re snoring, gasping, snorting or pauses in breathing. While OSA can strike anyone at any age, it is quite common among men over the age of 40 and those who are overweight. However, it is important to note that one can snore without having OSA and that women and physically fit people can get OSA also.
Diagnosing and Treating OSA
A sleep study is required to definitively diagnose OSA. This can be conducted in a lab or a home sleep test. A board-certified sleep physician reads the study and give a diagnosis. Once OSA is confirmed there are options of lifestyle changes (stop smoking, stop alcohol, lose weight), CPAP machine (a machine that rams air through a mask and down your throat) or an oral appliance.
Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a specific oral device while you sleep. This device positions your lower jaw forward and down. This helps to keep the airway open. Thus, patients get the oxygen you need, relieves the snoring, and enables you to finally get a great night’s sleep. Sleep Apnea Oral appliances are safe, comfortable, quiet, easy to wear, and convenient for traveling.
If you suspect that you might have obstructive sleep apnea, let our Pasadena Texas Sleep Office help you. Our specialized OSA program can provide you with up-to-date information on treating OSA with Oral Appliances and help you better understand and treat the condition.