Snoring, Sleep Apnea, and Your Health: Are You at Risk?
April 19, 2023
There are basically two categories of snoring. There is primary snoring, which is not related to sleep apnea and usually not something to worry about. Then there is snoring that is a sign of sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that could have drastic consequences for your overall wellness. How are snoring, sleep apnea, and your health connected? Let’s dive into this important topic.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
The most common form of sleep apnea, called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when tissues in the throat block the free flow of oxygen through the airway. This leads to repeated pauses in breathing throughout the night. When those same tissues are not blocking air altogether, they may vibrate as air pushes past them, leading to snoring.
Loud, frequent snoring is one of the most common signs of OSA. If your partner has told you that you snore, you should not simply dismiss that information. Instead, it would be wise to arrange for a sleep test, which can tell you whether you have OSA and how severe your condition is.
Sleep Apnea and Your Health
While snoring and sleep apnea might not seem like a big deal at first, they deserve to be taken seriously. In fact, untreated OSA can have devastating consequences for your overall health.
OSA makes it difficult or even impossible for its victims to spend an adequate amount of time in the deeper stages of sleep. Consistently not getting enough high-quality rest could cause problems like unwanted weight gain, memory issues, problems with concentrating, depression and mood swings, premature skin aging, and more.
OSA can also lower your blood oxygen levels, which in turn can cause inflammation throughout your body. That inflammation may contribute to a buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. Hence, sleep apnea is often considered a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is highly treatable. The most common way to address it is with a CPAP machine. However, it is common for patients to find their CPAP difficult to tolerate. Here at Enclave Dental, Dr. Thomas is proud to offer effective alternatives.
For example, she might recommend that you wear a special mouthguard at night to slightly reposition your jaw and allow for the free flow of oxygen. She might also urge you to undergo functional orthodontic treatment to address anatomical abnormalities that are contributing to your OSA. Another possibility is NightLase treatment with the Fotona laser, which tightens the tissues in the throat to allow for improved airflow.
Snoring, sleep apnea, and your health share a strong connection. Take appropriate action to improve the quality of your sleep and protect your overall wellness!
Meet the Practice
Dr. Preetha Thomas is an experienced holistic dentist who is proud to offer OSA treatment to the Southlake community. If you are concerned about the quality of your sleep, she and our team would be happy to recommend your next steps. To learn more about us or to book a consultation, contact Enclave Dental at 817-912-1218.
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