Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Although most people do not think snoring or excessive sleeplessness are a problem, sleep disorders or sleep apnea related to snoring are potentially life threatening. These sleep disorders can cause things like memory loss, headaches in the morning and even depression if left untreated.
Snoring is the sound of partially obstructed breathing during sleep. Snoring can certainly be a sign of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When OSA occurs, the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and completely block the airway which restricts the flow of oxygen and causes breathing interruptions. These pauses can last from seconds to minutes and can occur numerous times within an hour. This results in fragmented sleep and lowered levels of oxygen in the blood. The airway obstruction lasts until the brain partially awakens the sleeper who unconsciously awakens for a gasp of air or choking. Normal breathing eventually resumes, often with loud snoring.
When a person suffers from OSA and has trouble breathing at night, they often do not feel well rested after a night’s sleep. The awakenings and oxygen deprivation can trigger a list of health problems. If you are a person that snores loudly or stops breathing for short periods of time in your sleep, see your physician for a diagnosis of sleep disorder and Dr. Pyle at our Weston dental office can help determine the most appropriate therapy for you.