September 25, 2020
Does your spouse often poke you in the ribs at night because of your snoring? You’re not alone. In fact, the American Sleep Apnea Association reports 90 million Americans live with the same problem. While it’s normal for everyone to snore occasionally, sometimes it can be a red flag signaling a larger issue. 20%-40% of people who snore also have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder causes frequent pauses in breathing several times throughout the night. How do you tell if your snoring is linked to sleep apnea in Skokie? Here’s what you need to know to sleep soundly.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is an issue for both men and women. It occurs when the upper airway narrows while you’re sleeping. This causes a partial blockage as your throat relaxes. As you breathe, the tissues will vibrate, causing the distinctive sound as air flows past it.
In most cases, snoring isn’t concerning because everyone does it occasionally, such as when experiencing nasal congestion; however, there are instances when it can indicate a problem. Loud, chronic snoring is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea that needs to be treated.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The American Sleep Association reports 25 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea. The condition occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat collapse to block the upper airway, which is why snoring is a common symptom of the disorder.
Unfortunately, snoring isn’t the only concern. The obstruction can cause you to stop breathing frequently throughout the night with each event lasting for potentially longer than 1 minute. The inadequate oxygen flow places strain on various systems throughout your body, increasing your risk of several health issues, like cardiovascular disease. In addition, your quality of life can also suffer, raising your risk of mood changes, depression, and sleep deprivation.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If it’s an ongoing problem, it’s best to speak with your doctor, especially if you have additional signs of the disorder, such as:
- Waking choking or gasping for air.
- Dry mouth or sore throat.
- Morning headaches.
- Daytime sleepiness.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Changes to mood or irritability.
- Nighttime sweating.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
If you suspect the sleep disorder is the cause of your snoring, you’ll need a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. Afterward, your sleep dentist can create a customized treatment plan. The most traditional solution uses a CPAP, which delivers a steady stream of air through a mask worn over the mouth or nose. While it is effective, many patients prefer an oral appliance which repositions your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open. You can breathe better and get the rest you need with the right treatment.
About Dr. David B. Schwartz
Dr. David B. Schwartz has been practicing dentistry since 1988. In addition to general dentistry, he’s one of the nation’s experts on dental sleep medicine. He provides personalized solutions to treat obstructive sleep apnea. If you’re dealing with chronic snoring or you have sleep apnea, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.
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