My husband snores so loud that it wakes me up at night. He has done this our whole marriage, over 15 years now. How do I know if he has sleep apnea? How serious is this condition?
– Jennifer in Texas
Snoring is more than just an annoyance. It can be one of the symptoms that an individual may have sleep apnea. In addition to snoring, if an individual is fatigued or sleepy during the day or startles awake at night, these could also be indicators of sleep apnea.
What happens when you fall asleep is that your entire body is in a relaxed state. This also includes your tongue. When your tongue is relaxed there are vibrations on the soft tissues that occur and that is what snoring is. But in some cases, the tongue can actually impinge upon the breathing passage. When this happens, it is considered sleep apnea. An individual with sleep apnea will wake up when the blockage occurs and then fall back asleep. This constant interruption in the sleep-wake cycle can leave the person feeling extremely tired.
To answer the second part of your question, yes, sleep apnea is a very serious condition. In fact, it can be life threatening if it is left untreated. Other serious side effects are weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
There are different treatment plans available to take care of this problem. A sleep study is typically a first step in an individual’s diagnosis. Then a prescription can be written by a physician for a method of treatment. The CPAP machine is a common suggestion, but many people hate wearing it. They complain that it is uncomfortable and loud, making it difficult to sleep. There are surgeries that will remedy the disorder, but there are dentists out there that treat sleep apnea with a mandibular oral appliance. This is becoming a popular choice because it is non-surgical, very comfortable, and removable. Thousands of people have successfully stopped snoring using these mouthpieces that reposition the jaw to keep the airway open.
Visit with your dentist to see if they can recommend you to a cosmetic dentist or sometimes a TMJ dentist that may be able to treat you using this method.
This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.