Possible sleep-disordered breathing
Based on your answers, you may have sleep-disordered breathing and should be evaluated by a medical professional. Possible disorders include:
A common warning sign of sleep apnea, not all who snore also have sleep apnea. Though your snoring may not disturb you to the point of waking at night, chances are your log sawing not only affects your sleep partner, but also your own sleep quality and energy during the day.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
UARS occurs when your air passage is so narrow that the chest and diaphragm muscles have to work extra hard to pull air in and release it while sleeping, causing repeated nighttime arousals and extreme daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Other symptoms include insomnia, morning headaches, acid reflux and difficulty concentrating. UARS is more commonly found in women and those within a healthy weight range, and isn’t necessarily accompanied by snoring.
The most severe type of sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea is characterized by very shallow breathing or repeated interruptions in breathing while sleeping, which can occur from five to sixty times per hour. Most commonly found in men, sleep apnea risk increases with age and body weight. While you may not be conscious of the problem, bed partners likely report you’ve been snoring, choking, gasping, or not breathing for intervals during the night.
Sleep apnea starves the brain for oxygen and causes a variety of health problems, including daytime sleepiness and extreme exhaustion (which often results in increased motor vehicle accidents and occupational injuries), poor concentration and work performance, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, cardiovascular events, memory loss, and even decreased libido.
Contact the Maryland Integrative Sleep Center to schedule a consultation. We will provide a comprehensive evaluation, including an in-home sleep study, to assess any possible sleep-disordered breathing issues. If severe sleep apnea is detected, we will refer you to a sleep center or board-certified sleep physician for further diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing, our specially trained oral physicians can provide many treatment options and give you a better night’s sleep, improving your energy and concentration levels throughout the day.
Oral devices created by dentists are different than mouth guards sold in sporting goods stores. Those devices are actually dangerous to treat snoring, as they only mask the symptoms instead of solving the problem and may actually worsen your condition.
NightLase is a noninvasive, nonoblative, nonscarring, nontraumatic laser-therapy treatment of the soft palate, uvula, and tongue. It’s ideal for those who either don’t want to wear an oral appliance at night or often forget, and it also continues to improve your breathing during the day.
Comprehensive solutions that address the body, mind, and spirit go beyond oral appliances or laser treatments to treat the root causes of sleep-disordered breathing. Your health professional should take into account nutrition, weight loss, healthy habits, and stress-management strategies to create a customized solution for your particular issues.
Read more about cultivating healthier sleeping habits and overcoming sleep-disordered breathing in my upcoming book, Stop the Snore! Dental Solutions for Healthy Sleep.
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