If you snore, you know how annoying it can be to you and your sleep partner. Snoring is loud — loud enough to wake you (and your partner) from a good night’s sleep. Over time, a lack of quality sleep can take a major toll on your lifestyle and your health. Without treatment for your chronic snoring, you — and your partner — could be at risk of serious health problems, like heart disease, heart attack, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. At Smile Design Manhattan, we help patients in and around Midtown West, New York, New York, treat sleep apnea using advanced techniques tailored to their needs. Here’s what you should know about snoring, sleep apnea, and the importance of getting treatment.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a major cause of snoring among both men and women. In fact, in the U.S., about 22 million people have sleep apnea — and many of those people haven’t even been diagnosed or treated.
Apnea is a chronic condition that causes your breathing to be interrupted while you sleep — sometimes hundreds of times a night. Most interruptions are very brief — so brief you probably won’t wake up. When interruptions are longer, you may wake up gasping for breath.
Tiny interruptions in your nighttime breathing may not sound like a big deal. But untreated sleep apnea can lead to a host of serious medical issues, like high blood pressure, heart failure, depression, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Daytime drowsiness can lead to accidents at work, when using machinery or tools, or while driving. Getting treatment for apnea isn’t just good for preventing that annoying snoring habit — it’s essential for maintaining good health.
Sleep apnea symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of sleep apnea is an essential part of making sure you get evaluated and treated. In addition to snoring, the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Waking during sleep
- Feeling unrested when waking in the morning
- Excessive or chronic daytime drowsiness
- Sore throat when waking up
- Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
- Problems with memory or focusing
- Moodiness and irritability
- Weight gain
There are two primary types of apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is by far the more common type. In OSA, when your throat relaxes during sleep, the tissues at the back of your throat “drop,” temporarily blocking your airway.
- Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when there’s an interruption in the connection between the brain and the muscles that control breathing.
Some people have complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of both OSA and central sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
When most people think of sleep apnea, they think of CPAP machines. And indeed, continuous positive airway pressure is one of the common treatments for apnea. But it’s not the only one. Many people with apnea find using a CPAP machine every night to be uncomfortable and cumbersome. Some people find it difficult to breathe normally while using the machine. In those instances, it can be even more challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are other treatment options. At Smile Design Manhattan, we help patients relieve their apnea symptoms with a special, custom-made appliance. The appliance fits comfortably in your mouth while you sleep, gently repositioning your jaw, so your airway is kept open. That means you’ll breathe easier without blockage, so snoring and other symptoms are relieved.
Your appliance will be designed and adjusted for your comfort. There are no loud machines, tubes or masks to wear, and no difficult cleaning routines like you’d have with a CPAP machine. Plus, since the device is small, it’s easy to take it with you when you travel, and you don’t have to worry about sleeping near an electrical plug.
Getting treatment for apnea: The next step
Not all snoring is caused by sleep apnea. Sometimes, snoring is a result of allergies or nasal obstructions, like polyps or a deviated septum. If you snore, the only way to know for sure if you have apnea is to schedule an appointment so you can be evaluated. Likewise, not everyone who has apnea snores. That means if you have other symptoms of apnea — like problems sleeping and daytime drowsiness, for instance — you should still be evaluated for sleep apnea, even if you don’t snore. If you think you might have sleep apnea, don’t put off your evaluation. Call Smile Design Manhattan at 646-328-4401 or use our online system to request an office visit today.