What is sleep apnea and what is plain snoring? Is there a difference? And if there is, does it matter? Statistics shows that out of 80 million people that snore in North America, around 12 million of them have a condition called sleep apnea. Should there be a concern with these numbers?
What is the cause of snoring?
Snoring happens when there is an obstruction of the airway. This happens during sleep because the area around the jaw relaxes and slacks blocking the airways. As the body stresses on pushing the air through, the uvula and soft palate will then vibrate and causes the snoring sound. There are other reasons for snoring too like drinking, allergies, deviated septum, large tonsils, and even being overweight.
Snoring is not really life threatening. When it becomes chronic, then there is a great possibility that it is not a common snore but a sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious matter. This is a condition where a person stops breathing. People with severe sleep apnea may stop breathing up to 100 times within an hour while sleeping. It can even be up to a whole minute sometimes. This causes multiple health problems like heart diseases and unhealthy blood pressure. This also causes a person to feel tired upon waking up in the mornings and throughout the day. Unable to focus or concentrate is another symptom of this condition.
While snoring is not a health issue, sleep apnea is. Fortunately, there are treatments for it. 1- The CPAP or the continuous positive
airway pressure 2- Oral appliances. CPAP therapy is prescribed by your physician and involves wearing a mask. This device can be uncomfortable to sleep with that is why more and more people opt for the oral appliances which are available by a dentist licensed to administer it. These appliances for the mouth are very unobtrusive as they look like a mouth guards that are very flexible. These appliances help keep airway passages open and easing the passage of air by moving the lower jaw in a forward position. This in turn will lessen the vibration of the soft tissues. This treatment for sleep apnea is more affordable and more comfortable to wear while sleeping.
This appliance can also be used to stop snoring even if you don’t have sleep apnea. Your spouse will really appreciate you taking the step to get rid of your snoring. Because remember, your snoring affects your spouse as well.
For more information on this please call our office or make an appointment. 323-771-7254