Loud snoring often indicates the presence of sleep apnea, a condition in which patients stop breathing for brief periods throughout the night. Those apneas reduce the amount of oxygen available to the body, which increases inflammation and contributes to a range of health problems. Evidence suggests that sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of issues like high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiac problems and stroke, in addition to causing fatigue that can also present hazards for patients. So, snoring isn’t just keeping your partner up at night. It’s causing problems for your body, as well.
Sleep apnea occurs when either the back of the tongue or other soft tissues at the back of the throat obstruct the airway while you are lying down. Certain risk factors increase the likelihood that a person will suffer from sleep apnea, including obesity, male gender (although the risk for women increases after menopause), large neck circumference and certain structural features of the jaw and throat.
In addition to loud snoring, other symptoms can suggest the presence of sleep apnea, including morning headaches or sore throats, dry mouth and daytime drowsiness. Your partner may also alert you to noticeable pauses in breathing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we strongly encourage you to be evaluated for sleep apnea.
Fortunately, you can save your relationship from your snoring and give your health a boost by getting sleep apnea treatment. Oral appliance therapy is highly effective for many patients. With this type of treatment, the patient wears a device that is similar to a mouthguard while they are asleep. The appliance holds either the jaw or the tongue toward the front of the mouth to reduce the likelihood of soft tissues blocking the airway opening. This eliminates the problematic symptoms and health consequences of sleep apnea.
To learn about your treatment options for sleep apnea, contact our office to schedule an evaluation.