Snoring is definitely common, but it is not safe or normal. It is estimated that over 80 million Americans snore on a regular basis. Over 70% of these situations involve loud snoring that may be a signal of more serious health problems. This can be an indicator of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The term “apnea” is used because it means “without breath.” People who struggle with sleep apnea literally suffer through brief moments of suffocation that may last as long as ten seconds. It is not usual for sleep apnea patients to experience hundreds of these “without breath” scenarios every night in their sleep. A mechanical obstruction of their airway is what causes them to experience these moments “without breath.” Snoring is produced during these times by soft tissue that obstructs the airflow as it passes through the airway. Ultimately, this obstruction dangerously reduces the flow of oxygen to the lungs and brain.
Sleep Apnea Can Cause Physical Strain
Repeated pauses in breathing while you sleep will lower the oxygen saturation of your blood. This will eventually bring about high blood pressure. Decreased, systematic activity of the body is absolutely necessary for deep, restful sleep to occur. If the heart is never allowed this deep rest, additional stress is put upon the heart. This will ultimately result in serious heart-related diseases.
Sleep apnea also makes weight loss very difficult. The struggle with breathing and oxygen levels produces a hormonal imbalance over time. It starts when the lack of deep sleep causes the hormone that tells the brain that the stomach is full (called Leptin) to significantly decrease. This is followed by the hunger-signaling hormone (called Ghrelin) to increase dramatically. This hormonal imbalance can cause a vicious cycle of consumption of calories and unhealthy nutritional choices. Obviously, the end result is additional weight gain.
Don’t Just Treat the Snoring
There are treatments that can be offered which only deal with the snoring. This plan is similar to turning off a ringing fire alarm but ignoring the fire. Snoring is often a symptom of deeper issues. The sleep apnea is what must be addressed.
There are snoring mouthpieces that can help you stop snoring. They simply move the lower jaw forward to stop the snoring. To really deal with the problem, the airway must be considered. At Your All American Smile Center, Dr. Oser will custom fit an oral appliance that will treat your sleep apnea and not just your snoring. By dealing with the sleep apnea and not just the snoring, a patient will be sure to get the restful sleep he needs and lower the risk of a whole host of serious health problems.