It can be difficult sleeping next to a bear. He’s large, he hogs the sheets, and the noises he makes are atrocious. Wait, it’s not a bear, it’s just your husband. He just sounds like a bear because he’s snoring, again. Like every other night, while he’s off in blissful slumber you lie there, awake because he sounds like a running chainsaw. It’s ok; you’re not alone in your suffering. Mild obstructive sleep apnea affects 1 in 5 adults, and 1 in 15 has a moderate to severe case. You shouldn’t dismiss a case of sleep apnea. Besides being a danger to your relationship, sleep apnea is also a danger to one’s health.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. People with OSA experience a partial or complete collapse of the upper airway because the muscles controlling the soft palate and tongue begin to relax. Apnea is associated with a loss of airflow lasting greater than 10 seconds. This causes snoring, and people who suffer from OSA find that they:
- Wake up periodically throughout the night
- Experience morning headaches
- Have nighttime gasping, choking, or coughing
- Suffer from gastroesophageal reflux
The number of times airflow is lost throughout the night will signify the severity of your OSA case. People who experience less than 5 instances of air loss are in a normal range. People with 5 to 15 instances have mild sleep apnea, those with 15 to 30 instances per night suffer from moderate sleep apnea, and those with over 30 instances of air loss have severe sleep apnea.
People who are obese have an increased chance of developing OSA, and it is common in people with upper airway or facial abnormalities such as deviated septums. Smoking and excessive use of alcohol and sedatives puts you at an increased risk for OSA.
Why Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Other than affecting your loved ones with your excessive snoring, sleep apnea causes a number of health problems. These may include:
- High blood pressure
- Worsening of ADHD
- Heart conditions, such as:
- Heart failure
- Irregular heart beats
- Heart attacks
People who suffer from OSA often find that they are tired throughout the day. This fatigue can affect their performance in everyday activities and can lead to being unproductive at work or school. It is also believed that sleep apnea can increase your risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
At the Art of Dentistry Institute, a simple five-minute procedure can assess you to see if mandibular (jaw) repositioning can help correct your snoring caused by sleep apnea. During your consultation, Dr. Hawary can:
- Assess your airway to see if it is narrow or collapsible
- Determine if your jaw responds well to repositioning
- Evaluate the nasal airway for possible structural blockage
If it is determined that mandibular repositioning can help correct your OSA, you will receive a mandibular repositioning device (MRD). This is an affordable, non-invasive, and effective treatment for snoring. An MRD is a custom-made oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw into a forward projection during sleep. This will widen the space behind the tongue and reduce the vibration and physical obstruction to breathing. MRDs are made of medical-grade silicone and can be tailored to each patient, even those who wear full dentures.
If snoring is a severe issue for you and you suspect that you suffer from sleep apnea, don’t wait to get treated. Correcting the symptoms of sleep apnea can greatly improve your quality of life and the quality of your relationships. Schedule your consultation at the Art of Dentistry Institute today by calling 949-284-1383 or by filling out our online contact form here.