Many of us are used to those jabs in the middle of the night as a subtle way of saying “BE QUIET!”, or maybe you are the one doing the jabbing. Regardless, we have all experienced the obvious audible effects of snoring at some point. What many do not know is that snoring can be a symptom of a far more dangerous and life-threatening disease: obstructive sleep apnea. Of the 90 million or so snorers in our country, half of them simply breathe noisily while they sleep without any other signs of sleep apnea. The other half, though, are not so lucky. These snorers tend to be loud and experience episodes of shallow breaths or they may stop breathing altogether for a few seconds or up to a minute! To experience the stress this puts on your body, hold your breath for one minute. Now imagine you are doing this 10-15 times per hour while you sleep!
Both snoring and sleep apnea can affect how we sleep, and as our quality of sleep diminishes, so does our health. Poor sleep is associated with weight gain, memory loss, skin aging, and even heart disease. Sleep apnea can also trigger the release of stress hormones that can cause significant damage throughout the body, contributing to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
So how do you know if you are a “simple snorer” or may suffer from sleep apnea? If you find yourself sleepy nearly every day, you fall asleep the moment you sit or rest your head, snore loudly and frequently, or suffer from several of the diseases mentioned above, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. The next step is to talk with a qualified sleep specialist, your primary care doctor, and your dentist. Yes, we can help you with sleep issues associated with obstructive sleep apnea! If you would like to know more information, call our office at 765-448-4242 for our free screening tools to see if your snoring is a symptom for this serious disease.
Keep on the lookout for our next blog, which will explain your treatment options!