Most people have snored or heard people snore. It is fairly normal for people to occasionally snore.
The classic sound we hear in people who snore is actually caused by the vibration of tissues in your throat. The soft palate and uvula resonate and cause the sound.
However, loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway during sleep. The cause of the blockage is usually the tongue or tissues of the neck occluding the airway. However, completely blocked or restricted airways are caused by many things, such as blocked nasal passages, abnormally large uvula, a poorly developed lower jaw, and in more serious cases, polyps, cysts, or a deviated septum This makes your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. The heart beats faster and blood pressure is raised to try to compensate for the lack of oxygen. The brain recognizes that oxygen is critically low and sends out a system wide distress alert. Breathing usually restarts with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. People may not sleep well, but they probably are not aware that they are waking up all night.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition. People with OSA often suffer from restless sleep, excessive tiredness, depression and can develop more serious conditions such as heart arrhythmias, high blood pressure and even congestive heart failure.
This is why screening and seeking sleep apnea treatment is so important.
Patients with untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea stop breathing constantly during their sleep. This may happen hundreds of times during the night and can often last for a minute or longer. This causes system wide stress on the body.
Due to a lack of public awareness, the vast majority of patients remain undiagnosed and thus untreated despite the fact that OSA has serious health consequences.
Previously, most patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea were prescribed the nightly use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This treatment involves wearing a facemask connected to a pump that rams air into the airway at pressures high enough to overcome any obstructions in the airway. However, many patients find this treatment loud, invasive and uncomfortable.
In our Pasadena Texas office, Dr. Nugent uses oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. This is a custom made device, designed to move your lower jaw downward and forward while you sleep. This opens up the airway and allows for uninterrupted breathing.
Advantages of the Oral Appliance treatment for Sleep Apnea:
- Travels well
- Sleep free from Attachments
- Not connected to a machine via a face mask
- No cumbersome head gear
- Speak and drink while in use
- Does not require electricity
- No consumable parts to replace
- Does not limit sleep positions
For more information on Sleep Apnea Treatment in the Pasadena, TX area call Dr. Nugent at 832-457-0647 today!