1. How well do you sleep?
Just about everyone snores occasionally. Even a baby or a beloved pet may snore! But snoring can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, poor behavior, trouble with relationships and increased health problems. If snoring is so loud that your bed partner can’t sleep, you may end up banished from the bedroom!
Sleep also affects our mood. People who chronically lack sleep are also more likely to become depressed. Sleep disorders deprive you of a good night’s sleep, causing chronic daytime exhaustion and long-term cardiovascular stress. (If you snore regularly and experience the symptoms above, you may have a condition called Sleep Apnea. Although as widespread as asthma and diabetes, Sleep Apnea often remains undiagnosed as a hidden epidemic.)
2. Most common side effects of disrupted sleep
-Memory Loss, Anxiety and Depression
-Headaches, Irritability, Increased Blood Pressure
-Cardiovascular Disease, Reduced Libido, Excessive Daytime Fatigue
3. What exactly is Sleep Apnea?
When the muscles that control the upper airway relax, some people begin to snore. When the airway becomes completely blocked and the person temporarily stops breathing, this is an episode of “obstructive apnea.” Each apnea event may last for a few seconds or up to a couple minutes or more. Events may happen frequently – even several hundred times a night.
4. Signs of Sleep Apnea
-Has your partner noticed that you gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
-Do you often wake up feeling unrefreshed?
-Do you sometimes feel excessively sleepy during the day?
-Have your energy and motivation levels decreased?
-Do you find it difficult to concentrate?
-Are you overweight?
-Are you a heavy snorer?
-Does anyone else in your family have a history of snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Did you know that Sleep Apnea is associated with serious health conditions?
-Do you suffer from high blood pressure?
-Have you suffered a stroke or heart attack/disease?
If you answer “YES” to any of these questions you may be at greater risk for Sleep Apnea.
5. Serious risk to your health.
Recent research shows that snoring and Sleep Apnea are associated with many serious conditions. Left untreated, they are contributing risk factors for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression.
-More than 35% of people who continue to suffer from high blood pressure increase their risk of heart disease.
-Significantly, 83% of people who suffer from high blood pressure despite taking three or more medications also have Sleep Apnea.
-Almost 70% of people who have had a stroke have Sleep Apnea.
-A person with Sleep Apnea is seven times more likely to have a car accident.
Those who suffer with OSA experience repeated awakenings during their course of sleep. During sleep, the airway relaxes, losing its potency (muscle tone) and narrows or closes completely. Oxygen is depleted. After 10-20 seconds ( a minute is not unusual) the body forces the person awake so that they can open the airway again. Often, these interruptions are so short that they go unnoticed but can occur quite frequently – hundreds of times a night. The drop in oxygen levels caused by not breathing and the increase in heart rate and blood pressure due to frequent awakenings puts stress on the heart. The result? A rise in blood pressure during the night and a resulting rise in blood pressure during the day. Permanently,
(Are you currently taking hypertension medication? Lowering your blood pressure may be difficult if your Sleep Apnea remains untreated. Correcting your Sleep Apnea problem will likely lessen the severity of your hypertension.)
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
CAD results from constricted arteries or atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty material and plaque.) OSA causes a drop in blood oxygen levels and a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, the heart is forced to work harder. Simultaneously, the heart needs more oxygen due to the OSA and arteries are narrowed due to the CAD. Ischemia, lack of blood flow, occurs. The heart responds, trying to pump more blood through a smaller area – straining the heart to such a degree that a heart attack could result.
A stroke occurs when the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain is either partially or completely cut off. In a person with OSA, blood flow and oxygen is already reduced, further exacerbating the likelihood of a stroke.
7. Can this condition be treated? How?
There are many effective treatments for snoring. A widely accepted treatment for Sleep Apnea is oral appliance therapy. An oral device custom fit by your dentist is designed to keep your airway open and help prevent apneas.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine
-recommends an oral appliance as a first-line treatment option for patients with mild to moderate obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and for those with severe OSA who either decline PAP therapy or are unable to successfully use PAP therapy.
This treatment does not involve medications or surgery and helps hundreds of thousands of people all over the world enjoy sleeping safely for a healthier life. Many experience the benefits quickly – often during the first night of use.