Some people believe that snoring is just a natural part of the sleeping process, although for their sleeping partners, the habit may not seem so ordinary. The truth is that snoring can affect your health and quality of life by inhibiting the amount oxygen to your brain. In severe cases, snoring can indicate a disorder that causes patients to completely stop breathing multiple times in their sleep, known as obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA). Southlake dentists, Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron, have extensive experience helping patients breathe easier by addressing sleep apnea, but they can only help you if you recognize the condition and seek a professional diagnosis.
The Disorder You Might Not Know You Have
Snoring is the sound of oral tissues vibrating due to increased air pressure. When you sleep, the muscles and tissues in your mouth and throat can relax so much that they collapse into your airway. As the passage shrinks, air is forced through a smaller space, increasing the pressure and causing the tissues to vibrate. Patients with sleep apnea stop breathing because their oral tissues completely block the airway, preventing air from entering and escaping. After several seconds, the mind forces the body awake to start breathing again; however, the patient isn’t typically aroused from consciousness, and may remain oblivious of the disorder. Nevertheless, the constant interruptions stop patients from falling into deep sleep (REM, or Rapid Eye Movement) that the mind and body need to recover.
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring associated with sleep apnea follows a distinct pattern of increasing volume, followed by moments of silence, and then a loud gasp as the patient begins breathing again. While many patients are motivated to seek treatment by a sleeping partner who can’t sleep, those who sleep alone can gauge the likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea by being aware of its symptoms, which result from continuous oxygen and deep sleep deprivation;
• Daytime fatigue
• Inability to stay awake
• Reduced ability to concentrate, remember, and/or solve problems
• Diminished ability to effectively deal with stress
• Unusual irritability
• Blurred vision
• Frequent, severe headaches, including migraines, especially after waking up
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.