Nearly 37 million people in the U.S. snore, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While occasional episodes of snoring are benign, like the kind when you are congested from a cold, majority of cases are dangerous, and can even put your life on the line. Here is what your Boaz sleep apnea dentists at Wall Street Dentistry want you to know about the dangers of snoring.
What causes snoring?
The cause of your snoring could vary, depending on several factors. But in general, snoring is caused by an airway restriction from excess fat around the neck, enlarged soft tissue of the throat, or a misaligned jaw that causes the airway to collapse while sleeping. In some cases, excessive consumption of alcohol can cause snoring. Regardless of the cause, snoring is the primary symptom of a sleep breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
This sleep breathing disorder occurs when the airway becomes blocked, either partially or fully, at various intervals throughout the night while sleeping. Each time these pauses of breathing occur, it causes the brain to slightly awaken enough to breathe again, although you may not wake up enough to even realize what is happening. Sleep apnea episodes can occur a few times to as many as 100 times or more per hour! It is no wonder why someone with untreated sleep apnea constantly feels fatigued throughout the day.
What are the perils of untreated sleep apnea?
Untreated sleep apnea means that your body is not receiving enough air that it needs to thrive. Plus, if the brain is constantly wakening up at night, it is not receiving the deep stage of the sleep cycle that it needs to rest and rejuvenate. Instead, your body becomes fatigued; you end up experiencing mood swings, loss of libido, and even increase your risk of being involved in an accident. While sleep apnea itself has not necessarily been linked directly with death, it certainly takes a toll on one’s body and can cause your body an imbalance. Our bodies are designed to intake a certain amount of air, and without enough air, our entire system may suffer.
Am I at risk for obstructive sleep apnea?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 34 percent of snorers are men, and only 19 percent are women. It typically strikes overweight individuals more, although even athletes can suffer from this potentially deadly disorder. Even children as young as infancy can develop sleep apnea, which not only means they are not breathing well while sleeping but that their growth and development could be hindered in the process. Therefore, it is essential that just about anyone, especially those that snore receive an airway evaluation by their dentist to rule out sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea has routinely been treated by using a CPAP machine, which forces air into the airway through a mask that is worn over the nose. While effective, this mode of treatment is not practical for most individuals, which means that they cease use of their machine within a few months of beginning treatment. At Wall Street Dentistry, our sleep apnea dentists in Albertville prefer to treat sleep apnea by making a custom oral appliance for each patient who needs treatment. The purpose of the appliance is to reposition the lower jaw in a slightly more forward position, which helps open the airway while sleeping. This device is comfortable, quite, and travels easy. Plus, many insurance companies are beginning to cover some or all of the cost of an oral appliance.
Sleep apnea dentists in Albertville, Boaz
Why leave your health and your life at risk? Receive an airway evaluation in Albertville today by calling Wall Street Dentistry at (256) 878-0525 and schedule a consultation.
Wall Street Dentistry provides total oral health care for patients in Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, Alabama.