Snoring can be a bothersome habit for the sufferer, sleeping partners, and even housemates. Sometimes snoring is actually a sign of a more serious condition known as sleep apnea. OSA or obstructive sleep apnea is one form of this disorder that is often ignored, as it is believed to be only a snoring problem. If it is OSA, however, the patient will be at a higher risk for many associated health conditions.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may sound very similar at first, but OSA is marked by periods in which breathing is interrupted by airway blockage. This means that while snoring noises are heard, there will be moments of silence when the person is actually not breathing. Warning signs for this condition include:
- Loud snoring
- Stirring during sleep
- Sound of gasping for air or choking
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Lack of concentration
- Dry or sore throat upon waking
- Moodiness and irritability
Dr. Stephen Gaines of Sherwood Dental in Oakville offers treatment solutions for OSA sufferers. Effective treatment depends on severity, but with the same purpose – to restore regular breathing during sleep. Some lifestyle changes may help reduce the occurrence of sleep apnea. Some patients may experience improvement by limiting alcohol and sleep medications. Overweight patients are more likely to experience OSA, and so losing any amount of weight may help, as well. Some people are helped by simply changing their sleeping position. Others may find some relief with nasal strips or nasal sprays to help open airways for easier breathing.
For patients who need a little more help, we may suggest a special mouth appliance to be worn when sleeping. It works by adjusting the jaw and tongue position to provide a clear airway.
A common treatment available for more severe conditions is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. It provides effective treatment by providing a constant towards the throat, which puts pressure on the airway to keep it open while sleeping.
If you or a family member suffer from the effects of OSA, contact our office to schedule an appointment. A simple treatment device may be the key to a restful and restorative night’s sleep for everyone, and decrease the risks of other health conditions.