Is Snoring a Sign of Sleep Apnea?
Is snoring affecting your sleep or your bed partner’s sleep? If snoring is placing strain on your relationship, or leaving you feeling exhausted during the day, it could be a sign of a much bigger problem: sleep apnea.
You may snore for various reasons, and sleep apnea is at the top of the list. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. This sleeping disorder increases the risk of stroke, depression, and heart disease.
No matter why you snore, you likely want to stop snoring. Snoring can leave you and your partner feeling unnecessarily tired on a daily basis.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which patients have five or more pauses in breathing each hour they sleep. These pauses can be just a few seconds, or can last for several minutes, and they can occur up to hundreds of times each hour.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the muscles in the throat relax too much or when the tongue falls back and collapses the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, and left untreated, can leave sufferers with low oxygen levels and poor sleep quality. With each apnea event, the brain briefly awakens the individual to resume breathing, but sleep becomes fragmented, leaving the patient feeling unrested.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is an ongoing condition that disrupts sleep and produces uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is dangerous because it reduces the oxygen delivered to the brain and heart. There are a host of symptoms that may indicate you suffer from sleep apnea. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Memory loss
- Impaired concentration
- Mood swings
Does Sleep Apnea Need to Be Treated?
Research shows that sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, are linked to systemic health consequences.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine actually showed that cancer patients with untreated sleep apnea were four times more likely to die than patients without sleep apnea or successfully treated sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has also been linked to respiratory failure, chronic kidney disease, and other serious consequences.
Sleep Apnea and Health
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine lists the following health consequences as linked to untreated sleep apnea:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Excessive weight gain
Patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea are at greater risk for poor health and even death. Healthy and unhealthy sleep apnea patients alike suffer from sleep apnea side effects and reduced quality of life.
Sleep Apnea and Injury
Sleep disorders usually cause sleep deprivation, thus decreasing concentration and focus. People with untreated OSA are 3 times more likely to suffer from workplace accidents. They also have a 15-20% greater chance of getting into a sleep-related car accident.
Sleep apnea is strongly correlated to both poor health and injury. It is best to seek snoring solutions early and create a pattern of health for the rest of your life.
What’s the Next Step?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is sleep apnea?” you may be wondering what the next step might be.
Dr. Buchheit recommends a home-based sleep test that will help us glean important information about any sleep disorders you may be suffering from. We will consider the amount of oxygen in your blood, your heart rate, and chest movements during the night. Then we can determine a treatment plan just for you.
Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness. So if you find it difficult to focus at work or stay awake at the wheel, consider a sleep apnea evaluation.
Resolving Snoring and Sleep Apnea
After determing when your snoring is linked to sleep apnea or not, the next step is to prescribe the proper treatment.
Dr. Buchheit’s patients have had great success using a customized snoring mouthpiece to treat sleep apnea. Dr. Buchheit understands that snoring is the result of soft tissues in the throat being pulled into the airway by gravity during sleep. The tissues vibrate and create the snoring sound.
An oral occlusal device, or a snoring mouthpiece, prevents the lower jaw from pulling back during sleep. By keeping the jaw in its optimal position, the snoring mouthpiece also keeps the throat’s tissues open and the airway clear.
Hate Your CPAP?
The CPAP machine is the most common sleep apnea treatment, but patient compliance is estimated at a mere 50%. There are plenty of CPAP machine problems that keep patients from using their CPAP.
If you are one of those patients asking about your CPAP options, we want you to know that there is an easier way. Dr. Buchheit offers comfortable CPAP alternatives that will protect you from the dangers of sleep apnea.
Why do so many people hate their CPAP? What are the most common CPAP (machine) problems?
- Discomfort: If you have used or even seen the CPAP, you know that the face mask is anything but comfortable. This clunky piece of hardware prevents you from sipping water, speaking with your bed partner, or moving around comfortably at bedtime. Some patients even say that the bulky CPAP makes them feel like they are suffocating.
You deserve comfort when you sleep. Even patients with sleep apnea can have a comfortable night’s sleep with effective treatment alternatives.
- Can’t sleep with CPAP machine: CPAP can only be worn when sleeping on your back or sometimes your side. It presses down on the face and makes falling asleep difficult. If you can’t sleep with the CPAP machine, your treatment is leaving you more tired than you were before!
If you can’t sleep with your CPAP machine, treatment isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. We can find something that makes more sense for you and allows you to sleep peacefully.
- CPAP noise: CPAP noise is a great disadvantage of this particular treatment. If CPAP noise is keeping you awake at night, let’s find a noise-free treatment solution instead.
- Can’t bring the CPAP anywhere: Have a vacation approaching? CPAP users will find that it is nearly impossible to drag their treatment along when they go out of town. Camping or hotel room sharing may leave you feeling awkward.
Have you been wondering about your CPAP options? Do you really have to wear this bulky, uncomfortable machine every night for the rest of your life?
The answer is no! Fortunately, there are other treatments besides traditional CPAP options.
Effective CPAP Alternatives
Although the CPAP machine is highly effective, patients do not always comply with the treatment, and as a result, they may not see the best results. If you are searching for a more comfortable alternative to the CPAP machine, ask us about oral appliance therapy.
Studies show compliance rates of 77% to 95% for oral appliance therapy. You’ll be more likely to wear our oral appliance because it is small, noninvasive, and comfortable. Our device can help you find relief from your sleep apnea symptoms and get your health back on track.
Get Help for Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Chesterfield!
Receiving proper treatment for sleep disorders can save your health, your money, and ultimately your life. Finding effective snoring solutions may be essential to your wellbeing. That’s why so many patients have chosen Dr. Martin Buchheit to help them. Dr. Martin Buchheit has successfully treated sleep apnea for years, and can help assess your treatment needs.
Dr. Buchheit offers at-home sleep tests and can also evaluate previous sleep studies to help plan your sleep apnea treatment. Let us help you stop snoring and safeguard your long-term health. Our oral appliances can keep your airway open at night, so you can wake up feeling healthy and refreshed.
Questions? Looking to make an appointment? Simply call, text, or email us today!