In 1910 the average amount of sleep was nine hours a night. Today, it’s just seven. Over 100 million Americans snore. The record snore came from Melvin Switzer who topped 92 decibels, according to Guinness. (Heavy traffic is 80dB!)
Seriously, though, sometimes snoring is associated with sleep apnea (AP-knee-ah). That means breathing stops, sometimes for minutes. As the body uses up remaining oxygen, the chemistry of the blood can change, and pretty soon the heart beats irregularly. And at least 12 million people have frank apnea. Others simply experience high upper airway resistance and compromised breathing.
People with sleep apnea have stiffer arteries and are subject to high blood pressure.
Next stop: heart attack.
Nice video on Obstructive Sleep Apnea from Dr. Bill Hang. No, surgery and orthodontics are not the only way to manage this very serious problem, but it’s nice to have them in our armamentarium!
New research at UCLA also notes that, when people strain to breathe and break the logjam in their throat, blood pressure goes way up. This, in turn, damages the inside of the lining of the vessels in the neck.
CPAP machines can be lifesaving if you have compromised breathing when you sleep…but…
Sick of wearing the cumbersome CPAP device every night?
Prevent closure of the breathing passages with a simple oral appliance.
The next thing we know these people have little sores on the inside of their arteries. This is where things stick and build up the clog that stops up blood flow inside the arteries.
This can lead to strokes. Interestingly, people who have sleep apnea have ten times the amount of clogged arteries in their necks.
We can often help with special appliances designed to keep the airway open.
Snoring–You May Need Evaluation
Here are just SOME of the things we look at when we do an evaluation for possible sleep apnea:
- reports of snoring or stopping breating while asleep
- reports or evidence of acid coming up into the throat or mouth (GRD)
- a neck size over 17″
- a recessive jaw
- deep overbite
- scalloping on the side of the tongue
- enlarged tonsils
- a high, arched palate (roof of the mouth)
- high blood pressure
- high body mass index–over 30
calculate your own BMI: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
- a closed posterior of the mouth
- space under your chin less than about a half inch
- …and more…
But…you may very well need proper analysis by a physician for this potentially life-threatening condition. This could involve a POLYSOMNOGRAM, a testing procedure that can really analyze what goes on when you’re sleeping.
NOTE: the damage from sleep apnea is NOT just seen in people with ongoing health problems. Apnea increases risk of death even in the apparently healthy.