Did you know, about 90 million Americans suffer from snoring activity during sleep. While half of these people are “simple snorer’s” or primary snorers, the other half may have a serious sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea will stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. This translates into the brain and the rest of the body not getting enough oxygen.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is caused by blockage of the airway with soft tissue from the back of the throat and central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
There is a misconception that sleep apnea only affects overweight, middle aged men, but it can affect anyone at any age, even children.
Risk factors include: male, overweight, over age 40, having a large neck, large tonsils, large tongue, small jaw, family history of sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including: high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heart beats, heart attacks, diabetes, depression, worsening of ADHD, and headaches.
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.
Up to 22 million people suffer from sleep apnea and 80% of those people have not been diagnosed. Once diagnosed, a CPAP is the gold standard of treatment. But, only up to 50% of the people use a CPAP who have been diagnosed. There is relatively low compliance with a CPAP, 3.9 hours 3 nights per week. A second option is an oral device that positions your lower jaw forward and opens the airway (think giving CPR). People are much more likely to wear an oral appliance than a CPAP, 6.9 hours 7 nights per week. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed via a home sleep test reviewed by a sleep physician or a sleep test in a sleep center.
If you are aware that you snore and would like a dental device to help reposition your jaw be sure to discuss this during your next dental exam with Drs. LeCuyer, Amato or Guerrero.