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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

So many people snore, everyone thinks it's normal.

However, sleeping should be a silent activity. Snoring is not natural and unless you are suffering from a cold or congestion, you should breathe effortlessly when you are awake or asleep. Yet night after night, 1 in 3 adults snore on a regular basis and up to 50% snore occasionally. This comes out to 80 million regularly snoring adults in the United States.

Snoring can be indicative of a more serious health problem called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that can increase your risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. Sleep apnea is defined as a cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more, occurring more than 4 times per hour during sleep.

It is usually characterized by loud snoring sounds interrupted by periods of silence in which no air passes into the lungs. This lack of oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide will alert the person to partially awaken, forcing the airway to open with a loud gasp. This harmful pattern can occur dozens of times per hour, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness and feelings of unrefreshed sleep upon awakening.

Take our brief sleep apnea test and contact a trained dentist near you for more information.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring may be more than a nuisance. The sound you hear when someone snores is a vibration caused by an obstruction of the airway.

The snoring sound comes from the uvula, the back of the tongue or the other soft tissues of the throat flapping as air passes over them when you breathe during sleep.

When you snore, your airway is being partially blocked by the soft tissues in the back of the throat including the tongue and soft palate.

If the obstruction is great enough, it decreases air flow to the lungs, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Opened Upper Airway
This picture shows what a normal airway looks like during sleep; air is flowing with no obstructions. Notice that the tongue extends all the way back into the throat.
Closed Upper Airway
This picture shows what can happen when the airway collapses. The back of the tongue and the soft palate are the most common areas to collapse into the throat during sleep.

Snoring Videos

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Sleep Apnea is Dangerous

If it is not treated properly it can lead to a number of dangerous side effects

Heart Attack

Prolonged suffering from obstructive sleep apnea often results in higher blood pressure and may cause enlargement of the heart, with higher risks of heart attack and stroke.

Car accident risk

Poor night's sleep leads to drowsiness during the day and can interfere with your quality of life and increase risk for car accident.

Diabetes

Airway obstruction caused by snoring blocks you from getting oxygen. When you don’t have enough oxygen, the body releases stress hormones. Stress increases insulin resistance and blood sugar.

Depression

Sleep apnea can affect your mental well-being, leading to issues from crankiness from a lack of sleep to serious depression.

Impotence

Many people are so affected by their snoring that they don’t have the desire for intimate relations with their spouse. Treatment for sleep disorders can usually get you back into the game.

Chronic fatigue

Blocked airway doesn't allow you to breath at night. Because of lack of oxygen your brain wakes you up temporarily to take a deep breath. The cycle repeats all night long but you may not know about it!

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Factors affecting the development of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If you have these symptoms, it is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor.
Timely advice will prevent negative consequences for your health.

Smoking and drinking

Overweight

Hereditary diseases

Sleeping pills and sedatives

Endocrine and hormonal disorder

Anatomically short and thick neck