Are you having trouble getting a full night’s sleep? Are your loved ones complaining about your snoring? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, you may be displaying signs of sleep apnea. It is important to see a physician for further testing and to determine the reason for the sleep apnea and snoring. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have severe effects on your health.
Sleep apnea is caused when the muscles in your body, including your throat and mouth, relax too much. For some people, they relax to the point where they block the flow of oxygen from coming in.
Why sleep apnea needs to be treated
Disrupted sleep due to lack of oxygen can cause serious health concerns. The stress it causes on the brain and heart can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and depression.
But it is not just the snorer’s health that is at stake. Partners whose sleep is continuously disrupted by a snorer can begin to display signs of sleep deprivation as well. In addition to this being poor for health, it also increases irritability and can damage the relationship.
It is important to make sleep a priority for everyone! Do not be timid in telling a partner they are snoring. They may not know it is keeping others up or that is affecting their own health. Do not stay in denial when a loved one points out snoring. Take it as an opportunity to do a thorough health check.
Does snoring equal sleep apnea?
Snoring does not automatically mean sleep apnea. There can be a number of lifestyle habits like unhealthy eating, weight gain, smoking, alcohol or lack of exercise. It could be as simple as changing from a back sleeper to a side sleeper or even losing weight.
Anti-snoring mouthguards can help with snoring, but to get a proper fit and to make sure the correct issue is being addressed, discuss mouthpieces with a dentist. While they can help with mild to moderate sleep apnea, they will not help with severe sleep apnea. It is important to not self-diagnose.
Let a doctor determine if the cause of snoring is, in fact, sleep apnea. If it is not, great. But if it is, there are important steps to take to make sure enough oxygen is reaching the brain, lungs and heart while sleeping.
Can a dental procedure help?
A doctor will determine the next step in addressing sleep apnea, whether this is through medicine, a PAP machine or surgery.
Sometimes, sleep apnea is caused by a jaw deformity. This deformity is corrected by a surgery called an osteotomy. An osteotomy of the jaw is performed when the bite needs to be realigned. The upper jaw is moved so that the lower and upper teeth fit together, correcting any type of deformity or open bite.
Discovering the reason for interruptions in sleep and snoring is an important part of your overall health. Do not put it off any longer.
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