Snoring can be annoying, especially if you share a bed or room with a snorer. Your sleep gets interrupted, you become tired of using earplugs, and you may even go sleep in a different room. But snoring can not only put a dent in your relationship, it can also be a sign of something serious. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we like to educate our patients on the dangers of snoring.
Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, a dangerous breathing disorder that attacks sufferers while they’re asleep, causing them to stop breathing several times during the night, sometimes for a minute or longer. Sleep apnea is a dangerous problem that can lead or contribute to serious health problems.
Sleep apnea has been linked to:
In sufferers of sleep apnea, when breathing stops for extended periods of time during sleep, their bodies aren’t able to get an adequate supply of oxygen to vital organs. What this means is that the body isn’t getting what it needs to stay healthy and functioning at its best. It’s also very common for people with sleep apnea to be chronically tired, which can lead to accidents on the job, at home, and in the car. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dental sleep Medicine, drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and can cause at least 100,000 accidents each year; many fatal.
At my Chapel Hill dental office, we strongly encourage anyone who snores, sleeps with a snorer, or who has signs of sleep apnea to get checked as soon as possible. Some of the other common symptoms associated with sleep apnea include feeling as if you never get enough sleep, waking up choking or gasping for breath, unintentionally falling asleep during the day, and chronic fatigue.
Once you’re able to get an official diagnosis, there are a few treatment options to explore. Treatment for sleep apnea can include a CPAP, a mask that’s worn during the night and forces air into your mouth, a mouthpiece that’s designed to keep your airway open; or a combination of both. Whatever treatment is appropriate, it’s important to start it right away. It can not only save your relationship, it can also save your life.
Serving patients in Chapel Hill, Pittsboro and Durham.