People often treat snoring as a joke, but in some cases, it could indicate a more serious health condition known as sleep apnea and can significantly decrease your quality of life as well as shorten your life. Unfortunately, up to 80 percent of people with sleep apnea are not aware that they have it. It is only when they look into snoring treatment that they first become aware of this health issue.
The most common symptoms include:
Sleep apnea can be even more dangerous for people with diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, and other serious medical conditions. If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with a sleep doctor as soon as possible. Once you have received a diagnosis of sleep apnea, Dr. Nathaniel Lim will work with you to find the most effective methods of snoring relief and sleep apnea treatment.
When you lie down at night, the airways become much more narrow than they are while you are awake during the day. This causes vibrations in the nose, mouth, and throat that create the sound recognized as snoring. While it is normal for the airways to narrow, the situation becomes dangerous when they close entirely. You actually stop breathing when this occurs. This is called obstructive sleep apnea. Your sleep partner may notice you struggling to breathe, or you may wake yourself up gasping for air.
Obstructive sleep apnea is serious. Not only does it interfere with your sleep and deprive you of oxygen, but it also causes your heart to work harder. This is necessary to pump enough blood to provide your brain with the oxygen it needs. You may end up with heart and blood vessel damage and high blood pressure as a result.
The CPAP mask has been the go-to snoring treatment for many years. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The device works by pushing air into your lungs. This ensures that your airways stay open during the night and that your body receives the oxygen it needs if you momentarily stop breathing. However, many people find it difficult to sleep with these masks on because they are so cumbersome. The hoses and other equipment that accompany them take up a lot of space and the noise of the machine can be disruptive to both you and your sleep partner. Dr. Lim works with you to find alternative methods of sleep apnea treatment.
Wearing an oral appliance is an effective and non-intrusive method of sleep apnea and snoring treatment. The mandibular advancement device, which is the most popular, repositions your jaw to provide better support to your airway tissues, so they won’t close at night. An alternative to this is an oral appliance that repositions soft tissue in the throat or mouth to prevent airway collapse. While these are quite effective with obstructive sleep apnea, they don’t work with the central or complex types. Surgery may be a consideration when other treatment methods have failed.