If you live with someone who snores, you’re probably at your wit’s end. While your partner seems to be sleeping like a baby, snoring away, you’re wide awake. You’ve tried white noise machines and ear plugs, and your partner has tried nasal strips and decongestants – but the problem persists. Your instinct is to be aggravated; you’re exhausted! But a more appropriate reaction should be concern, instead. Sometimes, snoring is more than just an annoyance; sometimes, it’s actually dangerous. Read on to find out more.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sometimes, snoring can be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. OSA occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway during sleep. When the airway is blocked, oxygen is unable to get to the brain and the rest of the body as it should. Sufferers of OSA sometimes have no idea that anything is wrong since it occurs during sleep, but because they are without oxygen for several seconds, several times a night, they could actually be in danger of additional health concerns.
Signs of OSA
Snoring is only one of the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Others include:
- Abrupt awakening, gasping for air
- Being tired, despite a full night of sleep
- Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Unexplained mood changes
If you or your partner snore, be on the lookout for the symptoms above. If left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health problems such as hypertension, cardiac events, stroke, diabetes, and depression, just to name a few.
The Good News
The good news is that OSA can be treated. One of the more common treatments is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. While CPAP can be effective, some patients find it difficult to sleep comfortably while tethered to a machine all night.
Another option that is effective and adds a measure of comfort is a sleep appliance. Once you are diagnosed with OSA, you can be fitted for a custom appliance to wear while you sleep. The appliance is similar to a mouthguard and can move your jaw into the correct position, keeping your throat from relaxing to the point of oxygen deprivation.
If you are concerned that you or your sleeping partner may be suffering from OSA, let’s talk about it. Dentistry isn’t just about having a gorgeous smile, it’s part of your overall health. Not only do I want to see you smile, I want you to enjoy a good night’s sleep and all of the other benefits that come with being fully rested. Contact my office today to schedule an appointment.