Snoring is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, 45% of adults snore now and then, and 25% of us are frequent snorers. Problems arise when snoring devolves into obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which occurs when there are several instances of breathing pauses greater than 10-seconds in duration while sleeping. Often these gaps in breathing are caused by upper airway narrowing and collapse.
Not surprisingly, the sleeper receives less oxygen in the blood which causes the heart to beat faster. Obstructive sleep apnea is a bona fide health problem that directly affects 26% of adults in the US between the ages of 30 and 70.
Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
An individual who suffers from sleep apnea often suffers from daytime fatigue which can have a negative impact on job performance. The condition can be dangerous for pilots, drivers, and equipment operators. The rapid increase in Obstructive Sleep Apnea over the past twenty years is directly related to the obesity crisis. People who are classified as obese are four times more likely to be diagnosed with OSA than those in a healthy weight range. There are six conditions that are affected by obstructive sleep apnea:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Stroke Risk
- Cognitive health
How many types of sleep apnea are there?
- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax and there are gaps in breathing.
- Central sleep apnea happens when your breathing muscles do not receive the correct signals from your brain
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Should I be assessed for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There is a wide range of symptoms for obstructive sleep apnea. All snorers with any of the following symptoms should be evaluated for possible obstructive sleep apnea:
- Witnessed episodes of breath pauses or apnea during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Sudden waking accompanied by a shortness of breath (CSA)
- Waking with a dry mouth or a sore throat
- A morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (Insomnia)
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue (Hypersomnia)
- Attention problems and irritability
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- History of a stroke
If you are a person who snores frequently in any position, or if you snore loudly enough to disturb your partner’s sleep, you should contact your doctor or a Breathe ENT specialist for an assessment. He or she will carefully examine your nose, mouth, palate, throat, and neck. They will provide an expert determination regarding the cause of the snoring. They also may suggest that you participate in a sleep study to determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea. Of special concern is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is a serious, under-diagnosed condition that can be dangerous. Experts cite that 26% of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 suffer from sleep apnea.
The sleep experts at Breathe can provide non-surgical treatments such as medications, lifestyle changes, oral devices and position therapy. If your condition requires surgical treatments, the Breathe Sleep team provides the full spectrum of safe, out-patient treatments and hospital-based surgical solutions to help you improve your sleep and life.
- Palatal Implants (Pillar Treatment)
- Injection Snoreplasty
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Nasal Surgery
- Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction (RFTR)
- Endoscopic Sinus Surgery for Nasal Polyps Removal
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP, or U3P)