Sleep Apnea: The Ultimate Sleeping Buzz Kill
A nice peaceful sleep is interrupted by a really loud noise. You wake up to see what is going on and it is your loved one snoring next to you. Those loud gasping snores are enough to make you want to leave and sleep in the next room. This is called sleep apnea. But, before you sleep in a different room, let’s take a look at what causes snoring and how you can help remedy this annoying, yet serious health issue.
Sleep apnea is caused by a partial blockage of your airway back in your throat area. Usually if you hear someone snoring then stop, you are about to witness a sleep apnea problem. People who stop breathing while sleeping are experiencing an “apnea” that can be life threatening. This condition affects a very large amount of the population. It can be caused by weight gain since the extra pounds will compress the diaphragm as you lay down. Tackling this issue early can save you many sleepless nights.
Obstructive sleep apnea will increase your risk for a heart attack and also a stroke by some 300-400%! It can also increase your blood pressure, make it hard to control diabetes and also has been shown to decrease you life expectancy by 10-20 years. Sleep apnea and lack of quality sleep has even been shown to decrease cognitive thinking ability over time. Who knew that getting sound sleep at night could affect our overall health so much!
Treatment for sleep apnea can include CPAP or BI-PAP breathing machines. What these will do is help deliver air to keep your airway from collapsing. It has been shown to be very effective at controlling obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and if you have severe apnea. These devices are rather uncomfortable.
As an alternative, ask us about an oral dilator for use at night. It is a device that is similar to a retainer that will help keep your tongue from falling back into your throat. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends this concept as first line therapy for anyone diagnosed with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea.