Snoring and Sleep Apnea near Memorial, TX
Many American adults suffer from chronic snoring—37 million according to the National Sleep Foundation—and unfortunately, most never seek medical treatment for their condition. What many people fail to realize is that not only does chronic snoring deeply impact the quality of your sleep, but it can also be an indicator of a more severe condition, such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is an all-too-common condition that can have serious medical implications. It’s best to find out if you have it sooner rather than later so you can get treatment and get back to sleeping soundly at night.
Call GB Dental at (281) 493-1083 to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with Dr. Girish Bharwani. If your doctor has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, your Houston dentist can work with you to solve the problem.
- What causes snoring?
- Do I have sleep apnea if I snore?
- When is chronic snoring considered sleep apnea?
- How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
- Who does sleep apnea affect?
- How is sleep apnea treated?
- How does sleep apnea affect your health and your daily life?
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by obstruction of the airflow through the nose and the mouth, resulting in vibrations that create the loud snoring sound.
Reasons for this obstruction can include the following:
- Blockages in the nasal airways that make air passage require extra effort
- Poor muscle tone in the nose and throat that causes the airway to collapse partially
- Obesity or having large tonsils or adenoids
- Soft tissues blocking the airway in the back of the throat
Some people are more prone to snoring than others, such as those who suffer from allergies. Alcohol and some medications can also cause snoring. Other health problems, such as hypothyroidism, obesity, or a deviated septum, can also make people more likely to have snoring issues.
While occasional snoring is primarily just a nuisance, chronic snoring can be an indicator of a more serious sleep disorder. Smoking and sleep apnea can also be the reason for chronic snoring.
Do I have sleep apnea if I snore?
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. The chronic snoring that is associated with sleep apnea is typically thunderous (enough to keep a bed partner awake) and occurs almost every night.
Some other telltale signs of sleep apnea are waking up with a cough or gasp for air, pauses in breathing throughout the night, or choking during sleep. Your bed partner may notice these symptoms while you sleep, and they can help you determine if a diagnosis for sleep apnea may be necessary.
When is chronic snoring considered sleep apnea?
Constant interruptions in the breathing cycle define sleep apnea. When you stop breathing during the night, your brain is signaled to wake you up, and in severe cases, sleep can be interrupted hundreds of times every night.
Lack of oxygen dramatically impacts your quality of sleep, and it can increase your blood pressure since your heart is now working harder.
When sleep apnea is not diagnosed or treated for an extended period of time, your risk of having a heart attack and stroke increases. Chronic snoring is also linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
A sleep study from an accredited sleep specialist is needed to diagnose sleep apnea accurately. Your general physician can provide a referral to a sleep specialist, and they can often send you home with a small machine that measures your breathing and oxygen levels throughout the night to determine if sleep apnea is affecting your rest. In some cases, your sleep specialist may recommend an overnight study performed in a sleep clinic.
Who does sleep apnea affect?
Sleep apnea in Houston can affect men, women, and children alike. However, it's typically more common in men. You may also be more likely to develop sleep apnea if you're a smoker, have a family history of sleep disorders, or you're overweight. It's a good idea to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea with your physician for sleep apnea if you snore loudly during sleep, suffer from frequent headaches - especially in the morning, have difficulties focusing or completing your work throughout the day, or struggle with chronic fatigue.
Some things you can do on your own to avoid or manage sleep apnea are:
- Avoid caffeine or eating large meals close to bedtime
- Exercise regularly
- Quit tobacco use or smoking
- Lose weight
- Stick to normal sleeping times
- Avoid things that relax your throat muscles and block your airways like alcohol or sleeping pills
How is sleep apnea treated?
Once you have the results of your sleep study and you have determined that you do indeed suffer from sleep apnea, your physician will recommend continuous positive air pressure therapy (CPAP) to help you breathe freely during the night. CPAP therapy involves a machine that delivers a steady flow of oxygen through a face mask worn by the patient during sleep. While CPAP is an excellent solution for many patients, some patients find the mask uncomfortable to wear, or the machine to be too loud during the night or challenging to deal with when traveling.
Houston dentist Dr. Girish Bharwani has completed extensive training in the field of sleep medicine, and he offers patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea an alternative solution to CPAP therapy with a custom oral appliance. Since each patient's condition is unique, oral appliances are customized and different for every person. Fitting much like a retainer, an oral appliance is comfortable to wear and designed to reposition your jaw slightly during sleep, which opens your airway for free breathing. Many patients find the oral appliance more convenient, comfortable, and effective than CPAP therapy.
Patients who suffer from severe cases of sleep apnea may be able to combine CPAP therapy with an oral appliance to achieve their best outcome. Dr. Bharwani works closely with your doctor to design the treatment plan that is most effective for your specific needs.
How does sleep apnea affect your health and your daily life?
When your body is not getting the rest it needs at night to rejuvenate, it may become difficult to function in your daily life. You may find yourself having challenges concentrating on tasks or focusing on your work throughout the day. Lack of sleep may also affect your mood and can even contribute to symptoms of depression, which may mean that your relationships begin to suffer. You may also feel frustrated finding yourself utterly exhausted by the afternoon even after a full night's sleep since you're battling chronic fatigue.
There are also several health concerns that sleep apnea contributes to, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Weight gain
- Heart failure
- Anxiety or depression
- High blood pressure
Successfully managing sleep apnea not only means you can finally get a good night's rest, but it also means that you're protecting your overall health and well-being.
Learn More about Snoring and Sleep Apnea
If you or your partner are suffering from severe snoring or you suspect one of you might have sleep apnea, call GB Dental, and schedule a consultation with Dr. Bharwani. He will work with you to determine the severity of your snoring problem.
At the initial consultation, your dentist in Houston will go over an explanation of several different treatments, dependent on the level of your snoring problem, and choose the best option so you and your partner can get a good night’s sleep.