What is sleep apnea and what is plain snoring?
Is there a difference?
And if there is, does it matter?
Studies show that out of 90 million people that snore in North America, around 22 million of them have a condition called sleep apnea.
What is the cause of snoring?
Snoring happens when there is an obstruction of the airway. This happens during sleep because the area around the jaw relaxes and slacks blocking the airways. The same volume of air must enter the lungs. When the airway is constricted (smaller) then the air must move faster.
As the body stresses on pushing the air through, the uvula and soft palate will then vibrate and causes the snoring sound. Also, one can snore if they have alcoholic drinks, allergies, deviated septum, large tonsils, and are overweight.
Sleep Apnea is a serious matter.
Snoring is not really life threatening. When it becomes chronic, then there is a great possibility that it is not a common snore but a sleep apnea. If the constriction turns into an obstruction then no oxygen is entering the lungs. Thus, this is why sleep apnea is a serious medical condition.
Snoring, OSA and your Health
A patient with sleep apnea literally stops breathing. Patients with severe sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 100 times within an hour while sleeping. It can even be up to a whole minute sometimes.
Sleep Apnea causes numerous health problems. The chronic oxygen starvation puts enormous stress on the body, organs, heart and brain. This causes multiple health problems like:
While snoring is not a health issue, obstructive sleep apnea is. There are three treatment options available for obstructive sleep apnea: CPAP, Surgery and Oral Appliance.
1) The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) rams air down the throat and the force of the air is so strong the air rams past any obstruction. Many patients can’t tolerate sleeping with a mask on their face. There is noise from the machine that keeps people up. The forced air and enter the stomach and cause bloating. Also, patients complain of a feeling of claustrophobia wearing the CPAP. Patients experience numerous problems from their CPAP machines.
2) There are several surgeries for obstructive sleep apnea. The most common is the Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This involves the cutting away of tissue at the back of the throat in an attempt to remove a source of obstruction. UPPP surgery has up to an 80% initial success rate. Regrettably, the success decreased to 46% at 12 months.
3) Oral Appliance therapy is very successful in treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Nugent can make a custom dental appliance that pulls the lower jaw downward and forward. This movement opens up the airway allowing the unrestricted flow of air. These oral appliances prevent snoring and sleep apnea. They are comfortable and don’t restrict a patient’s movements at night while sleeping.
Ask a Dr. Nugent about Sleep Apnea and Snoring? Contact us at 832-487-0647 today to see why our Pasadena, Texas Sleep Office is helping patients stop snoring and take control over their sleep apnea.