Sleep Apnea — When Is Snoring a Health Concern?

Sleep apnea — when is snoring a health concern? Introduction

Snoring is a standard issue that affects people from all walks of life. Men are more likely to snore, and the same holds true for people who are overweight. Snoring typically worsens as the patient ages.

While snoring occasionally is not a severe health issue, doing it regularly is. Besides preventing anyone who shares the room with the patient from getting a good night's rest, it also affects the quality of sleep the person receives. People who snore regularly need to seek the services of a doctor or a dentist.

Sleep apnea — when is snoring a health concern? What causes snoring?

A person snores when the airflow through the nose and mouth is physically being obstructed. The air attempts to get past the obstruction that leads to the sounds associated with snoring. Common reasons why a person's airways might become obstructed include:

1. Congested nasal airways

Sinus infections and allergies can cause some people to snore. It can also be caused by facial structure deformities like a deviated nasal polyps or septum.

2. Weak throat and tongue muscles

When the muscles of a person's tongue and throat muscles become too relaxed, they can collapse into the airway, restricting the movement of air. Aging can cause this, drinking or using sleeping pills.

3. Excess throat tissue

People who are overweight are more likely to have throat tissue. People with enlarged adenoids or tonsils are also more likely to snore.

4. Extended uvula or soft palate

When the person has a uvula or soft palate that is longer than usual, it can narrow the person's airways.

Sleep apnea — when is snoring a health concern? Health risks of snoring

Regularly snoring is often a sign of a serious health issue like sleep apnea. This dental disease can lead to a range of issues like:

  • Interruptions in the person's breathing patterns during sleep due to the obstruction of the airways
  • Waking up often during sleep. Patients do not always realize they are doing this
  • Not feeling rested in the morning due to the constant interruptions to the person's sleep. It leads to less deep, restorative sleep
  • Increases the risk of heath attacks and strokes due to the strain put on the person's heart. It also leads to higher blood pressure
  • Feeling drowsy throughout the day due to not getting enough deep sleep. This can affect the person's personal and professional life

Treatment options for sleep apnea

There is a wide range of treatments that can be used to address sleep apnea. It typically comes down to each unique case. Common treatments include:

  • Airway pressure machines
  • Mouthguards
  • Airway stimulation
  • Losing weight
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Surgical removal of soft tissues blocking the airways

We are always here to help! 

Exhibit any of the symptoms of sleep apnea listed above? Schedule a consultation with one of our dentists and explore your options. We are ready to help guide you in making the best decisions for your health and snoring problems. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment with John M. Chaves, DDS, request an appointment in our Woodland Hills dental office here: . Or call us at (818) 999-2707.

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Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

There are two different types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. When someone is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it means that their airway is being blocked by their tonsils or tissues in the back of their throat. When this blockage occurs, they are no longer able to breathe. Their body will soon begin to gasp for air, and the breathing will eventually resume, many times with a sharp jerk or a loud enough gasp to wake those nearby.

When someone is diagnosed with central sleep apnea, it means they are not experiencing any type of issues with their airway being blocked. Instead, their brain does not send the proper signal to the muscles to breathe. This sleeping disorder is directly connected to the central nervous system, which is why it is called central sleep apnea.

Obstructive vs. central

Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common and serious sleeping disorder that causes people to stop breathing for certain periods of time while they are sleeping. This can last only for a few seconds or up to a full minute, which means that the brain and body are deprived of oxygen during these times. Because everyone is different, some people may stop breathing only a few times while others may stop breathing hundreds of times.

Who is at risk for receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis?

Men are more at risk for getting sleep apnea than women. Those who are overweight are also at a higher risk of developing or being diagnosed with a sleep apnea disorder. Other factors that put people at a higher risk include being over the age of 50, having a very large neck, a very small airway, jaw misalignment problems, an overbite, nasal obstructions and any other structural abnormalities that can get in the way of one being able to breathe when sleeping at night.

What are the signs associated with a sleep apnea diagnosis?

One of the most common signs found in people diagnosed with sleep apnea is snoring. Because snoring is quite common, albeit still abormal, it is necessary to understand the other signs associated with sleep apnea.

  • Feeling tired during the day even after being in bed for the entire night
  • Waking up often during the night, a.k.a. restless sleeping
  • Waking up often with a feeling of not being able to breathe
  • Waking up the next morning with a headache and not knowing why
  • Experiencing a very dry mouth or even a sore throat the next morning
  • Experiencing difficulty when it comes to focusing
  • Experiencing difficulty when it comes to remembering things
  • Experiencing various forms of anxiety
  • Experiencing various forms of depression

How is it sleep apnea treated?

For those who are only experiencing a mild case of sleep apnea, treatment options will often include making appropriate lifestyle changes, like losing weight and stopping smoking. If lifestyle changes do not allow for improvements, then options for treating moderate sleep apnea and severe sleep apnea should be explored.

Common treatment options for sleep apnea include:

  • Using a CPAP machine, also known as a continuous positive airway pressure machine
  • Using one of the dental appliances available specifically created to address this disorder
  • Using surgery to remove extra tissue, shrink tissue, reposition the jaw, stimulate the nerves or even create a new airway

Need to make an appointment?

If you would like more information about sleep apnea, then simply call us right now to make an appointment. During the appointment, you can ask one of our caring dentists all the questions you have about this serious sleeping disorder. Whether it is you or someone you love who is potentially suffering from sleep apnea, it is essential that you seek professional advice as soon as possible. Only when you receive an official sleep apnea diagnosis can you find a solution that will work for you.

Call (818) 999-2707 today to reach John M. Chaves, DDS.

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