Snoring may be an annoyance, but it can also lead to health problems. Disruption in sleep can cause irritability, depression, learning and memory difficulties, and problems focussing while working or driving.
Loud snoring with intermittent pauses may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With this disorder, the tongue and soft tissues block the air from properly entering your lungs for periods during your sleep. This results in pauses in your breathing while resting. If your blood oxygen level drops to a certain level, your brain alerts your body to unblock the airway by tightening the throat muscles. This partially awakens you, usually with a gasp or snort, and the airflow begins again.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Heavy snoring
- Frequent breathing stops or interruptions while sleeping
- Feeling tired or groggy during the day due to a poor quality of sleep
- Headaches or migraines in the morning
- Feeling thirsty after waking up
As a result, this can cause:
- Short-term memory impairment
- Difficulty focussing at work or school
- Reduced work performance
- Increased risk of an accident, such as while driving or operating other heavy machinery
A sleep study will be needed to determine the degree, if any, of sleep apnea. One possible solution would be to prescribe an oral appliance. The appliance is designed to hold your lower jaw slightly forward to open the airway. The oral appliance is designed so that it should not bother your gag reflex while you are wearing it, however many patients notice its presence early on in the process. This oral appliance may be a suitable way to treat sleep apnea without resorting to surgery. However, you will want to consult with your sleep apnea dentist in Forest Hill to determine the treatment for your individual circumstance.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, contact Dr. Paul Deratnay to set up a consultation today. You can also request an appointment online between Monday and Friday.