Sleep Apnea / Snoring Therapy

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can cause fatigue, and lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and other serious health problems.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. In some cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. Loud snorers often experience OSA.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs because the muscles that control breathing don't receive the proper signals from the brain.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Insomnia
  • Loud snoring
  • Headaches upon waking
  • Sleeping / drowsiness during the day
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat

Risk Factors

Anyone can experience sleep apnea, even children, but the risk factors associated with this disorder include:

  • Obesity
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Heart problems
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Gender – Sleep apnea is more common in males.
  • Age – The risk of sleep apnea is significantly higher with adults over 40.

Treatment

Treatment for sleep apnea varies, depending on the severity and type of sleep apnea a person suffers from. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. Other treatment options include oral appliances and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, exercise, and avoiding alcohol and smoking. In extreme cases, surgery is recommended.

Snoring Therapy

Snoring affects millions of people of all ages, both male and female. However, snoring is more common among males and people who are overweight, and it typically gets worse with age. Occasional snoring is usually not a problem, but habitual snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring is caused by the vibrations of your soft and/or hard tissue palates; these vibrations occur because of increasingly narrow air passages. When air passes through these passages, a "flapping" sound occurs because the tissue is soft in nature. Surgery (to alleviate the snoring) is not always successful, however, because the sound may not originate from the soft palate; the snoring sometimes originates from tissues in the upper airway.

Snoring occurs due to:

  • Poor muscle tone of the tongue or throat
  • Obstructed nasal passages because of allergies, a sinus infection or a deviated septum
  • Bulky throat tissue, specifically children with large adenoids and tonsils
  • A soft palate and/or uvula that is too long

Health Risks of Snoring

Snoring not only disrupts your sleep pattern, it also keeps you from getting a good night's rest. Loud snoring may also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, breathing repeatedly stops and starts due to blocked air passages. Untreated OSA can increase your risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other health problems.

Frequent snorers should always be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure they're not experiencing sleep apnea.