Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore. However, it is very common for these two sleep conditions to occur together. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is characterized by several lapses or pauses in breathing through the night. The can occur hundreds of times a night and last for several seconds to a few minutes each time. Unfortunately, this disruption in breathing during sleep does not go unscathed. Untreated sleep apnea can cause a host of very disruptive consequences during the day, including fatigue, memory loss and more.
What Causes Snoring
Snoring occurs when the throat muscles relax and the soft tissues of the back of the throat vibrate together. Snoring can simply be a harmless but annoying habit or the result of weight gain. However, if the throat muscles fully close and the airway becomes blocked, an apnea occurs. This causes a sudden cessation of breathing, which cuts off oxygen to the brain and causes the person to wake up gasping for air. This loud snoring and cycle of gasping for air often occurs without the patient fully waking and realizing it.
Is My Snoring a Sign of Sleep Apnea?
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans snore during sleep, and about 15% of those people have sleep apnea. Snoring is the leading warning sign of sleep apnea. In sleep apnea patients, snoring is typically loud and frequent. Still, it may be hard to confirm that your snoring habit is in fact linked to a sleep apnea diagnosis. While a sleep study is the only way to accurately determine this connection, it can be helpful to evaluate yourself for other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Beyond your snoring habit, do you experience any of the following?
- Headache or sore/dry throat upon waking
- Chronic fatigue and irritability during the day
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or depression
How A Dentist Can Help
While CPAP machines are the most recognized treatment for sleep apnea. They do not work for everyone. If you are unwilling or unable to tolerate a bulky CPAP machine while you sleep, ask your dentist about sleep apnea treatment. Dr. Wayne Suway is proud to be a skilled provider of oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea and snoring. A simple, custom-fit appliance can hold the jaw in a better position as to keep the airway open and prevent snoring and apnea episodes. Call our Marietta office today to learn more.