Sleep Apnea Treatment in Totowa, NJ
Also Serving Caldwell and Essex County
What Causes Snoring?
As you sleep, your throat and mouth muscles naturally relax and expand making your airway smaller. If your breathing becomes too constricted, your reflexes kick in, your jaw drops and you automatically breathe through your open mouth. Snoring sounds occur when forced air passes through the restricted passageway and vibrates the soft tissues in the back of the throat. The more you gasp and struggle for breath, the louder sounds you make – similar to a powerful wind gusting through a window crack.
* Swollen nasal tissues caused by genetics, allergies, illness or injury.
* Dry and irritated airway caused by smoking, arid climate or forced-air heating.
* Over-relaxed muscles caused by medications, relaxants and alcohol near bedtime.
* Extreme dry throat caused by over-use of mouthwashes, rinses, syrups and recreational beverages containing high-alcohol, a drying agent.
* Constricted nasal passages caused by excess fat in the mouth and throat.
* Sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that results in breathing cessation during sleep.
Is Snoring More Than Just a Nuisance?
Yes … emphatically, yes. Snoring can definitely be a nuisance. But, at its worst, snoring can negatively impact your sleep, physical and mental health and relationships.
Snoring and Sleep Loss
During uninterrupted, quality sleep, your body repairs damage to itself caused by illness, injury and the daily effects of living. Without time to restore and rebuild, your body is more susceptible to health problems.
Take a look at this abbreviated list of the health impacts of sleep deprivation.
* Cognitive functions, such as memory and complex and rational thought, can become impaired.
* Compromised immune and endocrine systems can aggravate or trigger conditions such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes.
* Alertness and motor control can be significantly reduced.
* Emotions, such as stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, nervousness and depression, can increase dramatically.
Snoring and Medical Conditions
It is estimated that 30-50% of us snore regularly. And, almost all of us snore at some point. But when snoring becomes a chronic condition it can have debilitating, potentially fatal, health consequences, such as those in this brief list.
* In a recent study* on the health impacts of snoring, loud snorers were found to have 40% increased probability for hypertension, 34 % increased probability for heart attack and 67 % increased probability for stroke than people who did not snore.
* Persistent oxygen deprivation can create a chain of events leading to stroke. The lack of sufficient, steady oxygen causes high blood pressure which damages the carotid arteries. The damaged carotid arteries, located on each side of the neck, cannot efficiently deliver oxygen to the brain. Instead, plaque containing cholesterol and calcium build up within the arteries and restrict blood flow to the brain. This can result in stroke. In a study conducted by the University of California School of Dentistry, 21% of men who snore were found to have hardened blockages in their carotid arteries.
* Snorers are more likely to experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious medical condition that occurs when the throat muscles collapse and breathing stops. Apnea is “a cessation of airflow for at least 10 seconds.” During sleep, someone with OSA can have dozens or even hundreds of episodes an hour. An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
OSA has been linked to:
* Cardiac failure, including an increased risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep
* Coronary occlusion
* High beat irregularity
* Erectile dysfunction
* Mental impairment
Sleep Apnea and Alzheimer’s Disease
The lack of oxygen to the brain caused by sleep apnea can have very serious ramifications. Along with potential risks like sudden cardiac death, depression, weight gain, heart disease, and insomnia, sleep apnea has also recently been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. According to new studies published in a leading neurology journal, researchers have found that shorter sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with an increased deposition of the amyloid proteins in the brain. Increased amyloid protein is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease–in higher concentrations, this protein destroys nerve cells associated with memory and processing thoughts.
Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating to the person affected, as well as loved ones. With this new research establishing a potential link between sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s disease, it makes it even more important to have any signs of sleep apnea checked out as quickly as possible. If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, we can provide treatment to improve sleep quality and reduce risks to your health and livelihood. Please contact our office for more information.
Snoring and Relationships
Chronic sleep-loss can test the best of relationships – especially if one or both of you snore. Sleeping in separate bedrooms might be a temporary fix. But, many counselors agree that a couple’s intimate, bedtime activities keep a relationship healthy.
The partner who opts to sleep in the same bed with a snorer can have health impacts, as well. Snoring is not contagious, but a non-snoring bed partner can experience poor quality or loss of sleep that can lead to the same health hazards as those of a snorer.
Dental Orthotics: An Anti-Snoring Sleep Solution
Dental orthotics, similar in appearance to a night guard, are oral appliances worn during sleep to prevent snoring. Each orthotic is custom-molded to the contours of the snorer’s palate. When worn during sleep, their precise form anchors the soft tissues of the mouth and throat in place and gently holds the jaw in place. This prevents the soft tissues from expanding during sleep and obstructing the airway.
Dental orthotics are a non-surgical alternative for treating snoring problems, including sleep apnea. Dental orthotics are less expensive and more comfortable than the CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) device, a medical appliance resembling an oxygen mask that is used to treat sleep apnea. Many patients have been successfully treated by wearing dental orthotics at night.
Dr. Jerry Strauss is trained in neuromuscular dentistry, which focuses on the position of the teeth and jaw as well as the activity of the muscles that control the jaw. Talk to Dr. Jerry Strauss and his professional staff at Aesthetic Dental Care of New Jersey about creating an anti-snoring, sleep-solution plan using dental orthotics. Dr. Strauss is an LVI dentist trained in neuromuscular dentistry and serving New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania patients.
*American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, March 1). Snoring Linked To Cardiovascular Disease, Increased Health-care Utilization.