Are you waking up in the morning feeling like you haven’t gotten any rest? Do you have morning headaches, then want to fall asleep in the afternoon? Do you find you’re dozing off in the middle of the day? And have you been told that you snore? If any of the above apply to you, it’s likely that you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition which affects your breathing at night. Many people with sleep apnea are prescribed CPAP– a bulky mask and hose they have to wear–but there is another way to treat sleep apnea.
If you are looking for snoring treatment or getting a sleep apnea diagnosis, we can help. We can also help if you’re looking for an alternative to CPAP. Please email us or call (845) 634-6006 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at New City Family Dental.
What Causes Snoring
Snoring is caused when your airway narrows at night. This creates a turbulent airflow that causes your tissue to vibrate. Snoring can be caused by vibration of tissues at any point in the airway, including the nostrils, lips, soft palate, tongue, and throat. The loudest snoring resonates in the throat and is related to a lack of good support for the airway by the jaw.
Dangers of Snoring
Although many people dismiss snoring as a mere nuisance, there are actually many serious health problems related to snoring, such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Coronary artery disease
- Poor sleep
- Domestic violence
Sleep apnea is the most serious condition related to snoring, and we’ll talk about it in a little while.
Snoring can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke independent of sleep apnea. The vibration of the throat and chest causes tiny injuries to the arteries, and when these injuries heal, they create scars, which contribute to the hardening of the arteries and the accumulation of arterial plaque. As a result, people who snore are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Snoring can sap your sleep. Loud snoring actually does wake up the snorer, although they may not realize it. This leads to sleep interrupted numerous times during the night.
And it’s not just the snorer who is being awakened. Anyone else in the house will also be awakened and may have difficulty sleeping. When multiple people in a household are sleep deprived, it’s easy for conflicts to spiral out of control.
When your airway doesn’t just narrow, but closes completely, it cuts off your breathing. This is known as sleep apnea, a lack of breath while sleeping. To make your body resume breathing, your brain has to wake up slightly. You may not be aware of awakening, even though it may happen hundreds of times a night.
Most people with sleep apnea are also snorers, so they experience all the dangers of snoring, plus those specific to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea not only leads to awakenings, but also causes intermittent oxygen shortages. When your brain senses an oxygen shortage, it not only stimulates breathing, it stimulates the heart, leading to excessive stress on the heart.
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Because sleep apnea hits your entire body, it can have a significant impact on almost every system. Some of the more common consequences of sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular death
- Weight gain
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Increased car and workplace accident risk
Overall, sleep apnea is such a serious impact on the body that it increases your risk of dying in the next few years by a factor of about five. Fortunately, with sleep apnea treatment, the danger is significantly diminished.
Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance
Treating Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Since snoring and sleep apnea are closely related, so are the treatments. The goal of treatment is to keep tissue from collapsing to narrow or close the airway. The most commonly prescribed sleep apnea treatment is CPAP, a pump that forces air into the nose and/or mouth via a mask. CPAP works great when it’s used, but most people don’t use it, so it’s less effective than it could be.
On the other hand, oral appliances are easy to use and comfortable, so people often use them all night every night.
Most oral appliances work by holding your jaw in a particular position. Since your jaw supports your airway, this helps your airway to stay open at night.
If you would like to learn more about snoring and sleep apnea treatment options in New City, NY, please email us or call (845) 634-6006 today for an appointment at New City Family Dental.