* Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Still tired after a full night’s sleep? Falling asleep while at work or driving? You or your bed partner sleeping in another room because of snoring?

Do you have sleep apnea? Use the Sleep Disorder Screening Questionnaire to help find out.

These can all be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious medical condition and requires treatment. Forty percent of the adult population snores. Those with sleep apnea actually stop breathing while sleeping.  Sleep apnea is associated with serious health problems. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Strokes & heart attacks
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty loosing weight
  • Memory loss and impaired concentration
  • depression
  • sudden death while sleeping

Snoring can be a problem for the snorer and the bed partner. Both may suffer from the consequences of inadequate sleep and exhibit irritability, poor memory, depression, and daytime sleepiness.

Only a proper diagnosis by a qualified physician at a sleep center can discern the difference between snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Treatment is available for both problems.

Diagram of sleep apnea

What causes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a portion of the upper airway collapses during inhalation causing a blockage. This results in a decrease in oxygen circulating in the bloodstream and carbon dioxide buildup. An arousal or awakening occurs leading to a disrupted sleep pattern.

Who is susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea?

OSA can occur in any age group but the following groups are at increased risk:

  • Those who are overweight
  • Men at any age
  • Post menopausal women
  • Those with a neck size in men greater than 17” & women greater than 16”
  • Those with a family history of snoring of sleep apnea

What are the treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring?

  • Weight loss
  • Changes in sleep hygiene which include sleeping on your side, waking up at the same time every day, limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption and exercise.
  • Surgery with removal of the tonsils, adenoids, and uvula. For those with nasal congestion sinus surgery may be indicated.
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine which delivers oxygen via a nasal cannula or face mask which keeps the airway open.
  • Oral appliance therapy which pulls the jaw and tongue forward to prevent collapse of the airway. This is indicated for mild to moderate OSA, those that have difficulty wearing CPAP, or those that snore. The appliance should be made by a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine.

More information : American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine