Snoring: we’re all guilty of it. Whether we’re always sawing logs or we just occasionally get told we were being too loud snoring is just part of being human. Some of us do it really badly, though. It’s those people who should be concerned about the potential implications of their bad sleep habit.
Constant loud snoring could indicate sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that is characterized by interruptions in breathing, called apneas, while sleeping. We can treat sleep apnea at Edgewood Dental Care, but we also want you to understand what to watch out for.
Sleep Apnea: What Is It?
When you sleep your whole body relaxes. That relaxation also affects the muscles and soft tissues of your neck, which can put strain on your airway, causing it to become partially collapsed – that’s what causes snoring. With enough blockage your whole neck can end up collapsing, which causes an apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, waking up frequently at night, a dry mouth in the morning, headaches, difficulty concentrating, depression, and mood swings. It’s important to diagnose sleep apnea quickly, as it can also lead to serious medical complications.
Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea
Like any other physical condition, there are a host of factors which increase your risks of developing sleep apnea. None of these risk factors guarantee you will end up with it, but if you’re a loud snorer who can check a few items off on this list it might not be a bad idea to schedule an appointment with us!
- Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for sleep apnea. Excess tissue on the neck contributes to a constricted airway, and it only gets worse when you sleep.
- Having a large neck is another major risk factors, and that isn’t just a problem for people who are overweight. If your neck has a circumferences greater than 17 inches (for a man) or 16 inches (for a woman) your risk of developing sleep apnea are increased.
- A small neck is also a factor! If you’re a narrow necked person there’s the possibility that there’s just not enough space in there to keep your airway comfortably open at night.
- High blood pressure isn’t just a risk factor for sleep apnea – it’s also a common consequence of the condition. If you suffer from hypertension you should consider the possibility of sleep apnea as well!
- Diabetes occurs frequently in patients with sleep apnea. It has also been linked to suffering from the condition for a long time.
- Chronic nasal congestion increases the chance that you’re breathing through your mouth while you sleep. Add to that the increase in airway blockage from draining mucus and you have a definite increase in your risk!
- Smoking, especially before bed, inflames the tissue in your airway, making it harder to breath.
- Drinking is also a risk factor due to alcohol’s muscle relaxing properties.
Treating Sleep Apnea
We have been treating sleep apnea for years, and are glad to be able to provide relief for our patients. If you come to our Edgewood office for a sleep apnea diagnosis the first thing we’ll do is schedule a sleep test. We use an at-home sleep test kit that will be mailed directly to your house, allowing you to sleep in a familiar location and get a more regular night of sleep.
With the information we get from your test we’ll be able to provide the perfect treatment option for your sleep apnea. Most cases are able to be treated easily with a night time mouth guard. The guards we craft are designed to keep your jaw and tongue in a comfortable position that prevents breathing through the mouth, snoring, and airway blockage.
In more severe cases we might treat you with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP treatment. This involves wearing a face mask at night that continuously provides a steady stream of pressurized air into your lungs. It prevents your airway from collapsing and helps you get a restful (and silent) night of sleep.
Don’t Mess Around With Sleep Apnea
The risks to your long term health due to sleep apnea are serious. If you or someone you love has identifiable risk factors and symptoms of sleep apnea it’s important that we see them right away.