Snoring is the butt of many jokes and comedy routines. From Wilma Flintstone to Being Mary Jane, many a bed partner has struggled with this. Recent studies suggest that while snoring can be annoying and interrupt your sleep partner’s sleep, it is actually particularly dangerous for the snorer. This is because snoring may also indicate a more serious problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep Apnea is defined by recurrent episodes where you stop sleeping for more than 10 seconds throughout the night. This puts a tremendous strain on your entire cardiovascular system. How much? 60% of nonresponsive high blood pressure may be attributed to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is caused by excessive soft architecture in the throat most commonly. During inhalation the relaxed tissues in the back of the throat collapses and closes of the airway temporarily by getting stuck together. Your brain senses the drop in blood oxygen levels wakes you up slightly by releasing epinephrine from your kidneys. Epinephrine is normally released under extreme duress and life threatening situations. Not breathing is life threatening so this makes sense. Epinephrine increases heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism. This is potentially happening all night every night while you’re asleep, dozens to hundreds of times a night. This is not true sleep. This is why you feel tired after a night of “sleep”. It was poor quality sleep that didn’t give what you needed.
Symptoms of Sleep apnea include
Loud snoring, this is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
Loss of sex drive
Grinding your teeth
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is serious medical condition and complications may include
High blood pressure
Sudden cardiac death
Type 2 Diabetes
Medication or surgical complication
Increased risk of cancer
Treatment resistant, more aggressive forms of cancer
Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Increased risk of Dementia
Increased chance of car accident and industrial accidents
Many of these issues are shared by your loyal bed partner because their sleep is interrupted as well causing many of the issues listed above. Yes this is serious.
Treatment consist is a mix of weight loss, dietary, life style changes and the use of CPAP or continues positive airway pressure machine. The CPAP is the gold standard but has problems with compliance. The next best choice for patients with mild to moderate OSA is an oral appliance called a mandibular anterior splint. I can fabricate for these for you and follow up and observe treatment.
Call our front desk at 253. 927.9715. Talk to Ms Dodson. We can help. OSA can shorten your life or drastically alter the quality of the life you’re living now. Get it treated for your own sake and those around you. Take that first step the rest is relatively easy. If you suspect you have OSA, talk with Dr. McGriff for more information on the treatments available to you. Contact McGriff Family Dentistry today to make an appointment.