Most people think that snoring is not something they should worry about, unless it disrupts their bed partner’s sleep. Snoring, although incredibly annoying, is not dangerous.
This problem can be addressed easily with a few adjustments in sleep position or by avoiding certain foods, alcohol, or medications. Unfortunately, if the loud snoring persists, it can be a warning sign of a much more complicated health condition.
Loud and persistent snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. This is a common and possibly serious sleeping disorder wherein the breathing stops and starts repeatedly as the person sleeps. Fortunately, this sleep disorder can be treated.
If you are worried about having this disorder, you should first identify the warning signs and learn about the treatment options available to overcome sleep apnea.
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Understanding Sleep Apnea And Identifying Its Symptoms
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is a serious and possibly life-threatening disorder in which the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxes during sleep, blocking the airway which causes you to snore loudly. According to Lamb Family Dental, this will result in a series of episodes where your breathing stops for a short period of time- ranging from a few seconds and up to a minutes- until your brain registers the drop in oxygen levels and restarts your breathing. This condition will disrupt your sleep because you will rouse slightly to open the upper airway, take gasps, and then drift back to sleep.
The severity of this condition will depend on how often your breathing gets interrupted.
- Normal: Less than five interruptions in an hour
- Mild: Five to fifteen interruptions in an hour
- Moderate: Fifteen to thirty interruptions in an hour
- Severe: over thirty interruptions in an hour
How do you know if you have sleep apnea?
It is challenging to identify obstructive sleep apnea on your own because the most immediate signs only occur when you’re asleep. To address this problem, you can ask your bed partner to observe your sleep behavior. Another option is to record yourself while sleeping.
The major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Pausing while your snore
- You make choking or gasping sounds after the pause
Other common signs that you or your partner should watch out for include:
- Daytime sleepiness and tiredness
- Fatigue and loss of concentration
- Morning headaches
- Mood swings, feeling irritable and depressed
- Impotence or reduced sex drive
- Frequent urination throughout the night
- Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea
Treatment for sleep apnea will vary depending on the severity of the disorder. For instance, the treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea involves the use of dental devices which you can wear when you sleep. This dental device will keep the airways open. One such treatment is SomnoMed which is very effective in treating this sleep disorder. Its unique design allows normal opening and closing of the mouth which makes it very comfortable to wear.
This is a custom-fit mouthpiece made with plastic. This dental device will adjust your lower jaw and your tongue. Its goal is to keep your airways open while you sleep. To receive this treatment, you need to consult a orthodontist who specializes in correcting teeth and jaw problems.
Other treatment options involve changing your lifestyle.
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Stay fit and healthy. Obesity can result in sleep apnea
- Sleep on your side instead of sleeping on your back. Doing so will keep your throat open.
- Keep your nasal passages open at night.
- Quit smoking.
Kris Lim is a writer for health and wellness websites where she occasionally writes about sleep disorders. In this article, she discusses what sleep apnea is, its symptoms, and the treatment options available.