Did you know that your chronic snoring can be a symptom of a life threatening health condition? While your snoring may cause some sleepless nights for your bed partner, its impact on your life can be considerably more serious.
For many people, chronic loud snoring may indicate that they suffer from a dangerous condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects approximately 18 million Americans, but only about 10% of these cases have been diagnosed. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and block the airway while you are sleeping. This can cause your breathing to momentarily stop. Your brain senses the interruption in breathing and wakes you up, causing a loud gasping sound. You may experience hundreds of these brief interruptions in your sleep during the night without even realizing it is happening.
A Danger to Your Health
Sleep apnea has both long and short term consequences to your health and life style. This constant stopping of breathing, the accompanying drop in your body’s oxygen levels, and the consequent waking can have a devastating effect on your health.
Short term effects of sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, automobile accidents caused by driving drowsy, a decrease in ability to concentrate, and difficulties with libido. Long term effects are far more severe and life threatening.
Sleep apnea patients are much more likely to suffer from strokes and heart problems. A person suffering from sleep apnea is 23 times more likely to have a heart attack. Hypertension is also a red flag in identifying patients with sleep apnea. Diabetes is also a common health condition associated with sleep apnea. Apnea also interferes with some of body’s hormones that regulate eating and can lead to obesity.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Orange County dentist Dr. Joseph Henry has been specially trained to help patients suffering from sleep apnea achieve relief from this dangerous condition. He is committed to working with sleep medicine physicians to accurately diagnose, treat, and manage any health conditions associated with your condition.
CPAP, or a machine that provides continuous positive pressure while you sleep, is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea. Positive air pressure is delivered while you sleep through a nasal or face mask providing the oxygen your body needs to insure a good nights sleep.
For mild to moderate sleep apnea patients or for those who cannot use a CPAP machine for whatever reason, an oral appliance may be an effective treatment. An oral appliance positions the jaw slightly forward increasing the space in the back of the throat for air to pass freely during the night. The additional training Dr. Henry has received qualifies him to fit you with a custom-made oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea.
Take the Epworth Test Now
If you snore and wonder if you have sleep apnea, take this short test called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This standard series of questions is widely used to see how your sleep affects your daily life. Then, bring in this page for our evaluation, and see how we can help you sleep more safely and feel better than ever before:
In contrast to just feeling tired, how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
- 0=Would never doze
- 1=Slight chance of dozing
- 2=Moderate chance of dozing
- 3=High chance of dozing
____Sitting and reading
____ Watching TV
____Sitting inactive in a public place (i.e., in a theater)
____ As a car passenger for an hour without a break
____ Lying down to rest in the afternoon
____ Sitting and talking to someone
____Sitting quietly after lunch (without alcohol)
____ In a car, while stopping for a few minutes in traffic
____= TOTAL SCORE
Please contact Orange County Dr. Henry today by calling (714) 385-1672 or complete the form on this page to schedule a consultation to review your answers to the above questions to see if you are at risk. Dr. Henry serves patients in Fullerton, Anaheim, Orange, and other nearby areas.