Snoring and other disruptive sleep symptoms have been the subject of jokes told by comedians and late night television show hosts for many, many years. Stories of husbands and wives forced to leave the bedroom because of the incredible snoring noises emitted by their partners are legend. However, if you are the one suffering the effects of night after night of ruined sleep because of snoring or other disruptive breathing patterns it is no joke. In fact, modern medicine has proved that many of today’s most serious health concerns are brought about by the lack of sleep caused by snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
What Causes Your Snoring?
At night, your muscles relax and your airway can become more obstructed due to a bulky tongue or a long, soft palate. Even weak throat and tongue muscles, which relax during sleep, can cause a blocking of your airways. The more obstructed your airway, the more force you use in an effort to breathe and the louder the associated vibration - better known as snoring.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Sounds Serious ...What is it?
OSA is serious and should be treated as soon as possible when diagnosed by a qualified physician. Basically, OSA occurs when your breathing is completely blocked during sleep. This blockage can occur many times during the night and OSA sufferers may not even be aware of the condition. Airways collapse during sleep and block your breathing; your body then begins to awaken you in order to gain necessary breath. When you are partially awake but still unaware of it,
your airway reopens enough to get the breath you need and you fall back to sleep. Once asleep, your airway is again blocked and you begin the process of awakening yet again. This cycle can repeat itself over and over each hour of the night, leaving you completely exhausted in the morning. This entire cycle of not breathing / partially awakening / breathing again / going back to sleep / not breathing again, can go on and on with the sufferer being completely unaware of the process. Once again, this is a very dangerous condition and should be treated immediately.
What are the Dangers of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Researchers at the famed Mayo Clinic discovered that oxygen-depriving OSA events can affect blood vessels, altering them in such a manner that the condition promotes disease. Because of a weakened body condition, muscles relax at night and airways can become closed off or obstructed. This can occur due to a bulky tongue, a relaxed tongue or stretched soft palate, inflamed or large tonsils or simply by sleeping on one's back, allowing the lower jaw to fall backwards, closing off the airway. The more this occurs, the more a patient is at a high risk for:
Additionally, children with OSA often perform poorly in school, show hyperactivity and possible aggressive behavior. Some OSA sufferers have been misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), or Fibromyalgia.
If you are suffering any of the above symptoms,
please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Karen at 757.842.4308.