Snoring is an alarm that may be alerting you of a more serious problem known as Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing many times during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen therefore depriving your sleep and stressing your body.There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea: The airway is not blocked like in OSA, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.
- being overwieght
- being over age 40
- having a larger neck size
- having large tonsils
- a large tongue
- a small jaw bone
- having a family history of sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum
- sinus problems
What are the effects of Sleep Apnea? If Sleep Apnea is left untreated, it can result in a number of health problems such as: High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Heart Failure, Irregular Heart Beats, and Heart Attacks, Diabetes, and Depression. In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in every day activities. Problems with work or school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents are just a few.
Common Sleep Apnea symptoms are waking up with a very sore throat, loud snoring, occasionally waking, sometimes waking with a choking or gasping sensation, sleepiness or lack of energy during the day, or sleepiness while driving.
What can be done if you suspect you are experiencing Sleep Apnea? Your dentist can help you! Dr. Crow can screen you for sleep apnea with both a questionaire and home sleep testing monitor. If you are at high risk, a sleep physician will further evaluate you for a final diagnosis and treatment. Treatment could involve either a CPap Machine or an Oral Appliance fabricated by Dr. Crow.If you have any questions, please check out our website at www.crowfamilydental.com or give us a call!