About 90 million Americans snore while they sleep. While snoring might be a nuisance, it doesn’t cause any lasting harm for half of this population. But for the other half, snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea — a serious sleep condition that affects your ability to breathe.
Left untreated, sleep apnea interrupts your breathing and can keep your brain and the rest of your body from getting enough oxygen. People with sleep apnea can stop breathing for a few seconds to over a minute at a time, and this can happen hundreds of times during the night.
Snoring could mean sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can not only make you snore, disturbing those sleeping around you, but it reduces your quality of sleep. Low-quality sleep and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to daytime sleepiness, headaches, and decreased performance and ability to focus at work or school.
Snoring is a classic sign of sleep apnea. As you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax and can partially block your airway. As you breathe, the relaxed tissue vibrates, causing the snoring sound. But just because you snore doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Learn more about sleep apnea symptoms, and find out if your snoring is a sign of something serious.
Signs of sleep apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked. This usually happens when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes and collapses as you sleep. The second form of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, occurs when your brain stops signaling your muscles to breathe.
People with obstructive sleep apnea are almost always plagued by chronic loud snoring, but because snoring doesn’t always indicate sleep apnea, it’s important to get the proper diagnosis. In addition to loud snoring, some other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Very dry or sore throat
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. However, if you’re a man over 40 years old or if you’re overweight, you might be more likely to have sleep apnea. If you snore loudly or experience any of the above symptoms regularly, you should be screened for sleep apnea.
Options for sleep apnea treatment
If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s important to treat it properly. Oxygen flow to the brain and body are critical as you sleep, and untreated sleep apnea can cause damaging side effects. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can contribute to:
High blood pressure
Snoring and sleep apnea treatments vary depending on your condition and lifestyle. Treatment can include weight loss, a change in sleeping position, oral devices, or implementation of sleep apnea devices like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
At MediDental Care, we offer solutions for snoring and sleep apnea to fit your needs. We create custom-made oral devices that adjust jaw placement to help keep airways open while you sleep. These appliances not only keep breathing passages open to reduce snoring, but also help keep oxygen flowing freely to the body.
Obstructive sleep apnea treatment involves keeping the throat clear to promote proper breathing. Once you’re breathing regularly, your sleep apnea is managed and your risk of side effects and more serious complications is greatly reduced.
If you snore loudly and think you might have sleep apnea, make an appointment with our caring team today. Call our office or schedule an appointment online to get started on your journey to healthier, more restful sleep.