Snoring and Sleep Apnea (Apnoea)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious health condition that occurs due to full or partial blockage of an airway. Snoring can be a symptom of OSA. When the brain registers a lack of oxygen, muscle spasm will occur and you will then often wake with a start, resume breathing and then return to sleep. Conditions can range from ‘simple snoring’ (partially blocked airway) to severe sleep apnea where you literally stop breathing for sometimes up to a minute for as many as 20 or 30 times a night.
In addition to snoring, sufferers of severe obstructive sleep apnea may be experience the following symptoms:
- Loud and repetitive snoring- OSA sufferers often follow a pattern of loud snoring followed by episodes of silence, and then gasps for breath
- Excessive daytime sleepiness — most people with OSA have difficulty staying awake during the day, regardless of how much sleep they have. This can occur while at work, watching TV, driving the car, or even sitting behind your desk at work.
- Erratic mood shifts — people with OSA are more susceptible to depression and increased irritability
- morning headache
- intellectual deterioration – poor memory;
- restless sleep;
- bedwetting/passing urine at night;
- breathlessness at night or day;
- reduced sexual activity;
- heart burn at night.
OSA and “simple” snoring occur in all age groups. This includes infants, children, adults and the elderly. In children, large tonsils and adenoids are a common cause. The largest affected group, however, is the middle aged population where it is estimated to affect 10% of the population, with males predominating in a ratio of 10:1.
Importance of curing obstructive sleep (apnea) apnoea
Disrupted sleep can cause daytime sleepiness. This can be very dangerous due to a higher incidence of car accidents, work accidents, and sick days.
If left untreated it can lead to serious health and medical conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Male impotence
- Loss of libido
Emotionally, it can lead to:
- Poor memory and poor concentration
- Mood irritability
- Marital problems
- Increased stress
What treatments are available?
There are three main treatments available for people who suffer from OSA:
- Pressurisation machine (CPAP)
- Oral Appliance Therap
Whilst no one treatment is suitable for everyone, each one has its pros and cons. Surgery is expensive, irreversible and unreliable. CPAP (where one wears a face mask of a night time) whilst considered the ‘gold’ standard in the treatment of OSA is still expensive and has a very low compliance by users; meaning that it the majority of people tend not to use it and therefore it becomes completely ineffective.
Dental Appliance Therapy is scientifically proven as an effective and comfortable treatment for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. The main way that appliances work is by preventing the tissues at the back of the throat and the base of the tongue from collapsing back into the airway. Often referred to as Mandibular Advancement Splints. These appliances take the lower jaw forward bringing the tongue with it, thereby clearing the airway at the back of the throat.
Benefits of Dental Appliance Therapy
- Wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to face the day
- Improved sleep for both you and your partner
- No more embarrassing snoring sounds while travelling, or in any group situation.
- Improved quality of life through greater vitality and participation.
- Improved work performance due to greater concentration and energy levels.
- Decreased risk of fatigue-related vehicle and work accidents.
- Decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and blood pressure problems.
We use the Somnodent (formerly Somnomed) device which is custom made from impressions of the teeth and has been clinically proven to reduce the severity and frequency of apnoeic events.
OSA left untreated is potentially life-threatening. Risks include heart attacks, strokes, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, loss of interest in sex/impotence and frequent night-time urination.
Furthermore, OSA causes daytime sleepiness that can result in accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems.
To find out if a device like the Somnodent can help you, please give Dr. Jason Pang a call for a consultation.