Snoring Can Be Serious

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015, 9:30 pm

Snoring is always a big joke in movies – think of the Three Stooges. Snoring isn’t really a laughing matter, it can be a sign of a serious health risk called obstructive sleep apnea!

Snoring is only one sign that you might have a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. Here are a the warning signs:

  • Loud snoring
  • Large neck size
  • Being overweight
  • Being over 50
  • Having a tongue with scalloped edges
  • Experiencing extreme daytime sleepiness
  • Waking feeling un-refreshed after a full night of sleep

Obstructive sleep apnea causes patients to stop breathing during sleep. The soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax and fall back, blocking the airway and stopping breath. When the sleepers brain realizes that it isn’t receiving oxygen it briefly rouses the sleeper who wakes with a gasp and begins breathing again. The number of times per hour that breathing is interrupted is a sign of the severity of the disorder. Serious obstructive sleep apnea causes patients to stop breathing more than 30 times per hour.

Most people who have sleep apnea have not been diagnosed. This is frightening because untreated sleep apnea is linked to premature death, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, mood disorders and stroke. Diagnosis of this sleep breathing disorder is made using a sleep study. A sleep study can be performed in a hospital or special sleep center, but a new option, the home sleep study is becoming very popular.

There are options for treating obstructive sleep apnea. Many people don’t want to take a sleep test because they are afraid they will be told to wear a CPAP. While CPAP is a wonderful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea it is not the only one. A custom oral appliance (sometimes called a mandibular advancement device) is a highly effective and comfortable treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. These small devices look similar to a mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer and work by gently placing the lower jaw in a forward position which keeps the airway open during sleep. No more snoring and you keep breathing!

If you found yourself nodding in agreement with the list of  warning signs then you should be tested. Treating obstructive sleep apnea will improve your health in the long run but will also increase your energy levels and sense of well-being.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

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Category: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), sleep apnea


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