Loud snoring can be more than a nocturnal annoyance. It can be an audible alarm that a potentially dangerous, even deadly health condition exists. Snoring can cause sleep deprivation for both the person snoring and those who are sleeping along with them. There is also a strong correlation between snoring and the increased risk of more serious health conditions like:
- Heart attack
- Carotid artery atherosclerosis
- Brain damage
The medical community has clinical evidence that most people who snore have some level of a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Snoring is much more than an annoyance. If your partner complains of your frequent loud snoring or if you find yourself waking up gasping for air, you need to be evaluated for your risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea and How is it Treated?
Essentially OAS is caused when the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxes and partially collapses cutting off the airway. In fact the “snoring sound” is caused by the vibration of this relaxed tissue as you unconsciously try to force air in and out of the airway. Cutting off the airway interrupts the supply of oxygen to both the brain and heart not to mention the other organs in your body. This oxygen deprivation is at the heart of the threat that OSA presents.
While some cases of obstructive sleep apnea can be “cured” surgically, most are “treated” by creating space between the soft pallet and the tongue keeping the airway open and preventing snoring. The two most common therapies are:
- Dental appliances. These are customized devices that fit over your teeth and slightly adjust the position of the jaw. They allow for normal speech, sipping water and are extremely effective and well tolerated by patients.
- CPAC. This system works by providing a steady stream of air under pressure while the patient sleeps. The airway is kept open through the force of the air. CPAC requires that the patient wear a mask connected to a hose connected to an electric pump. It is not well tolerated and most patients abandon it after 30 days.
See a Trained Weston Dentist or Sleep Disorder Specialist
Not surprisingly, a dentist like Dr. Pyle who is trained in identifying sleep apnea can be the first healthcare provider who spots the symptoms while performing a routine dental exam. Dr. Pyle refers his patients to a sleep disorder M.D. for diagnosis and then works closely with that doctor to craft a custom dental appliance for the patient.
If you believe you or a partner may have OSA we would encourage you to call our Weston office today and schedule an exam with Dr. Pyle.