It's Not Just Snoring: Understanding the Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is common and affects nearly half the population at some point during their lives. However, while you may find your bed partner’s snoring a nuisance, it can also be a sign of a more serious health condition known as sleep apnea. 

Our board-certified orthodontic specialist, Joseph Z. Yousefian, DMD, at Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults wants you to know when snoring isn’t just snoring. 

What is snoring?

Loud and harsh are often the words used to describe snoring, which may ring true in your world if it’s your sleep partner making all the racket at night. The loudness of your own snoring can also wake you up out of a deep slumber, too.

Snoring occurs when the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate as you breathe in and cause a sound to emanate from your mouth or nose. Snoring is common, but is more often seen in men than women, and the risk of snoring increases as you get older. You may be more likely to snore if you sleep on your back or you’re recovering from a cold. Alcohol and other depressants can also lead to snoring while you sleep. 

While light snoring is usually not cause for concern, if you or your bed partner snores heavily and loudly, then it may be a sign of a more serious health condition. 

When snoring is more than just snoring

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you periodically stop breathing while you sleep, which is both scary and dangerous. This may occur due to relaxation of your throat muscles that obstructs the airway (obstructive sleep apnea) or because your brain isn’t sending the right messages to the muscles that control your breathing (central sleep apnea). 

Loud, heavy snoring is one of the key symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Other symptoms to look out for that may indicate your snoring is more than snoring include:

Your sleeping partner may also observe you stopping and restarting breathing while you sleep. 

If you or your sleeping partner are experiencing these symptoms, then you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation, which usually means a sleep study. In addition to affecting your ability to get a good night’s rest, sleep apnea also increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. 

Managing sleep apnea

Management of your sleep apnea may depend on the severity of your sleep disorder. If your sleep apnea is mild, you may be able to make a few lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and taking allergy medication, to improve your nighttime breathing.

If your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, you may benefit from additional treatments to improve your breathing while you sleep, such as oral device therapy or mandibular advancement devices. 

We offer a unique nonsurgical treatment called Teledontics that was developed by Dr. Yousefian and is patented and FDA approved for the treatment of sleep apnea. Unlike other oral devices offered for sleep apnea, Dr. Yousefian’s device doesn’t cause any unpleasant side effects such as bite changes or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain due to its unique mechanism that repositions your lower jaw. 

In addition to helping improve your nighttime breathing, our treatments and device may cure your sleep apnea altogether. We have used the treatment to help both children and adults struggling with the dangerous sleep condition.

To learn more about Teledontics and how it can help your sleep apnea, call our office in Bellevue, Washington, or request an appointment online today. 

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