Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What is SNORING and SLEEP APNEA?:These terms describe steps of the continuum of airway collapsibility known as sleep-disordered breathing. This spectrum ranges from its mildest form as slight vibration of tissues, to its severe extreme - death from asphyxiation. In between lies pathologic snoring, including periods of complete airway closure and breathing cessation called "apnea."
Snoring and sleep apnea have been associated with some of the most serious chronic diseases of man, including: hypertension (high blood pressure), myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, cardiac arrythmias (irregular pulse), diabetes, erectile dysfunction, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD), polycythemia vera (thickening of the blood), and other diseases.
Sleep disordered breathing also disrupts the normal patterns of brain activity and relaxation, preventing refreshing and restorative sleep. Overwhelming daytime sleepiness contributes to the risk of accident and injury from decreased attention span, judgment and reflex. The untreated sleep apnea patient has an increase of about 8 times the risk of automobile accidents over that of the normal sleeper. Work related safety and productivity also suffer as a result of sleep disordered breathing.
What happens to cause snoring?
During the increasing muscular relaxation of deepening sleep, the airway can become increasingly flaccid. The relaxing tongue falls back, sealing against the back of the throat during the sucking, negative pressure in the attempt to take a breath. Snoring is the vibration of the soft palate, uvula, and throat walls against the tongue during the inspiratory phase of breathing, with a reduction of airflow due to increased resistance. As collapsibility of the airway increases, complete closure can occur. In either narrowing (hypopnea) or closing (apnea) events, oxygen levels of the blood can drop precipitously, triggering a response of the brain to prevent asphyxia. This "sympathetic discharge" of adrenaline, corticosteroids and other agents raise blood pressure, pulse rate, muscle activity and brain activity to protect the unconscious sleeper from death.
The sleep apnea patient may experience these events up to 600 times or more every night resulting in fragmented, non-refreshing sleep as well as chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This activation is thought to be the reason for such devastating long-term negative effects on cardio-pulmonary health. If left untreated for nine years, sleep apnea patients may lose 20-50% of lifespan. Failure to sleep results in failure to heal.
Options for treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Untold millions of people suffering from the effects of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, struggle to find simple, effective options to resolve their problem. Oral appliance therapy may provide the solution. It has been proven to be a highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.
Indications for Oral Appliance Therapy: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has stated that oral appliance therapy is indicated as a first treatment of choice for patients with primary snoring and/or mild obstructive sleep apnea and as a second treatment option for patients with moderate or severe sleep apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP and/or are not good candidates for surgery. Therefore, oral appliance therapy is indicated for:
- Primary/heavy snoring
- Mild or moderate sleep apnea
- In combination with nasal CPAP
- Poor tolerance of CPAP
- Failure of surgery
- Use during travel
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