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You snore when the soft tissues behind your throat partially block your airway leading to vibration of the tissues. This produces the sound of snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by complete blockage of airway from the soft tissues during sleep. This forces the person to wake up in order to be able to breathe. The cycle repeats several times during the sleep leading to insufficient/improper sleep and fatigue.
Sleep disorder is one of the major public health concerns in the United States. Various surveys have revealed that a considerable amount of the US population is affected by sleep disorder. Among the problems that cause sleep insufficiency in the US population, sleep apnea is most commonly seen. This sleep disorder can be categorized into mild, moderate and severe, in terms of the complexity and the ill effects the disorder has on overall health. So how dangerous is sleep apnea? To understand this, one should know how sleep apnea occurs and what all changes it creates in the body.
When we sleep the soft tissues at the back of our throat may tend to rest and partially block our airway. This leads to snoring. People who are obese, men and people who are more than 35 years of age can be at higher risk of snoring. When the airway is completely blocked by the soft tissues, there is no sufficient oxygen supply to the body. Therefore the oxygen level in the blood diminishes, which forces the heart to pump more blood. The brain recognizes the diminishing blood oxygen level, sends signals to the muscles and the person to wakes up. The cycle can repeat several times in an hour and the blockage can last for a minute or longer. The person will not be able to get a sound sleep which leads to tiredness and fatigue. The heart is put under stress. The patient may not be able to concentrate on daily activities. In serious cases there is high risk of accidents.
Sleep apnea leads to insufficient sleep. The condition may be difficult to diagnose since the indications are notable when the person is asleep. The bed partner of the patient may be able to note some of the symptoms. Daytime sleepiness, fatigue, inability to remain asleep, waking up with a gasp or cough and headache when you wake up are some common symptoms of sleep apnea.
We work with sleep clinic to diagnose your problem. An overnight sleep study may be recommended to check if you need an oral appliance. One of the most widely recommended cures for sleep apnea is the oral appliance. These appliances can help the patient keep the airway open by moving down the jaw slightly. The non-invasive process is very effective in helping the patient get sound sleep. In some cases CPAP may be recommended in combination with oral appliance.
If you or your bed partner is not able to get sufficient sleep, meet Dr. Bixby. Our team can cure your sleep disorder and improve your quality of life.
Dr. Greg Bixby, DDS1222 C StreetSalida, Colorado 81201
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