Is snoring affecting the way your sleep? San Francisco dentist explains how it might be caused by sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is the common term for a serious sleep disorder that affects many adults in the San Francisco region. Sleep apnea episodes happen when a person while sleeping simply stops breathing for more than 10 seconds or their breathing slows enough to drop their blood oxygen level 4% or more. These episodes occur repeatedly throughout the night. Because sleep apnea episodes happen when the patient is asleep, it can often go undiagnosed.
Sleep apnea episodes are caused by obstruction of the airway; therefore, snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea though not always. As the person sleeps, the tongue may fall backwards and partially or completely block the airway. Many individuals don’t understand that snoring might be a side effect of sleep apnea and not just an annoying habit. It’s important not to take sleep apnea lightly as it could be a symptom of a serious health condition or can cause problems due to oxygen deprivation.
How do patients know if snoring is an annoyance or a sign of a larger problem?
There are several other common symptoms of sleep apnea. For example, patients with sleep apnea often gasp for air while sleeping as they begin to breathe again. It also causes disruptions in sleep, leading patients to feel chronically tired, regardless of how early they went to bed. Other symptoms include: irritability, anxiety or depression; lack of focus; and disorientation due to lack of sleep. Additionally, many patients with sleep apnea complain of constant headaches or a sore throat.
How is sleep apnea treated?
In the past, the most common method of treatment has included the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, machine. This apparatus includes a mask or nasal prongs that are connected to a machine that manages the air pressure. The machine is effective when used; however, many patients admit to not using the machine because it is uncomfortable and can be distracting.
Patients of Dr. Leo Arellano have another option with oral appliance therapy. This appliance, which is similar to a sports mouthguard, is small and lightweight. It works by shifting the lower jaw forward to ensure that airway does not become obstructed during sleep.
Don’t suffer through more nights, weeks, or months of poor quality sleep. Instead call today to schedule an appointment to discuss your options for treating your sleep apnea.