Sleep Apnea and Snoring
What are Sleep Apnea & Snoring?
Snoring is what happens when the airway narrows or as the tongue relaxes during sleep. When that happens it tends to fall back and cover the windpipe. Then the sound of snoring is made as the air pushes against the narrowed opening and soft tissues causing a vibration and sound. The airway can narrow for numerous reasons like a deviated septum in the nose or by having to much fat. That is why heavier people tend to snore more. Snoring can be totally harmless or it can be part of a dangerous pattern known as obstructive sleep apnea.
When the tongue falls back and blocks the airway, no oxygen enters our lungs. As the level of oxygen in our blood drops, our brain tells us to take a breath. We try, but of the tongue is there blocking the system, then patients are often observed gasping. This is sleep apnea.
Two main problems can arise as a result of obstructive sleep apnea. The first is that over time the heart tries to overcome the lack of oxygen by beating faster and faster. This can cause a dramatic rise in blood pressure, possibly affecting the heart.
The second problem with obstructive sleep apnea, are whats called micro arousals. The gasping for breath sort of wakes us up. We never realize we have woken but this nightly dance of constantly waking and breaking our sleep cycles can have a profound affect on our ability to be awake. Many studies have shown that tired people are much less efficient, poorer decision makers and often are dangerous to themselves and others.
What can be done to help mild snoring?
There are 3 simple things that can help a person with milld snoring.
- Loose weight
- Not sleeping on ones back
- Avoid taking medicine that makes you drowsy a few hours before bed
What can be done to help a person with
Obstructive Sleep Apnea ?
Before a definitive diagnosis can be made, the patient must be examined by an expert and a sleep study should be performed. The the following options might help.
- CPAP – continuos positive air pressure. By placing a mask over ones noseand mouth, slight pressures helps to keep the airway open.
- Oral surgery to open the narrowed airway.
- Dental sleep appliance.
Dental Sleep Apnea Appliance
Such orthodontic type retainers, when made properly can be very effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea. Having treated patients with these diseases for almost 3 decades, Dr. Lockerman has had great success in helping sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea
Dr. Larry Lockerman is an expert who deals exclusively in these matters. He can be reached by calling 02-679-8040