Snoring can be a nuisance to your partner and family members, but can it be a cause for concern? While it’s not always a sign of something worse, it can signal the presence of a disorder called sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
There are actually a few different types of this condition, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is by far the most common. In OSA, the structures in your throat relax to the point that they block your airway and cause you to stop breathing during sleep. The far less common central sleep apnea (CSA) results from the brain failing to transmit signals to breathe. Regardless of the type, this breathing interruption can happen anywhere between five to 30 times per hour.
In response to a lack of oxygen, your brain briefly wakes you up to restart your breathing. While it happens so quickly that most people don’t even remember waking, this constant disturbance prevents you from achieving deep, restorative sleep.
While snoring is not a sure sign of OSA, there’s certainly a correlation. Other symptoms of these conditions include:
- Morning headaches and dry mouth
- Attention difficulties
- Extreme daytime fatigue
- Awakening with a snort or gasp for air
Your partner may even report instances that you occasionally stop breathing in your sleep.
Is This Condition Dangerous?
Many people with sleep apnea try to downplay their symptoms. However, there is a laundry list of complications that can arise from this condition. Untreated OSA can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, surgery complications, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
While your orthodontist cannot diagnose this condition, they can spot the signs and recommend testing. Doctors diagnose this condition through either a sleep test in a lab or a simplified home sleep test. Regardless of the method, a diagnosis is necessary to begin treatment.
Clearly, sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires treatment. Often, interventions as simple as losing weight, quitting smoking, or avoiding sleeping on your back can help. Oral appliances can also help relieve symptoms. Your orthodontist can work with your doctor to see if an oral appliance is the best approach.
In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine features a mask that you wear during sleep. A CPAP provides air pressure to keep your airway open and unobstructed, allowing you to breathe easier.
Find Sleep Apnea Treatment in Houston
G Orthodontics provides comprehensive sleep apnea treatment in Houston and can help you begin your journey to finding relief from this condition. In fact, we offer a variety of oral appliances that can relieve OSA symptoms. Dr. Garcia and her expert team custom fit these appliances for each client to achieve the best results. To get started, call our Pearland office at 713-677-2258 or our Houston office at 832-847-6749 and make an appointment and learn more about our orthodontic treatment services.