Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Are you or a loved one kept awake at night from snoring or gasping for air? You could be suffering from Sleep Apnea. Dr. Ali, and Dr. Kanji are experienced with diagnosing and helping to treat patient’s sleep apnea disorders.

 

Causes

Snoring occurs when the airway or passage through which we breathe becomes partially blocked. In many situations, this compromise is minor and the body continues to get adequate amounts of oxygen to cause little or no harm. Others are not getting adequate amounts of oxygen when they sleep. Snoring is a red flag as it could also be one of the early signs or a part of sleep apnea, a health-threatening condition. Most all sleep apnea sufferers snore in between bouts of apnea, or oxygen interruption. A sleep study should be done to determine the seriousness of one’s condition.

 

Sleep apnea patients have a rough night and don’t even know it is happening. In a given night, these apneic events (when a patient stops breathing) can occur anywhere from 30 – 50 times, and in some people as many as 60 – 100 times per hour! Obviously, these individuals awake exhausted each morning, as they’ve been fighting for oxygen all night. Sleep should be a replenishing experience for each of us.

 

A Valid Concern

Common side effects of sleep apnea patients are:

 
  • Heart attacks or irregular heart beats
  • Impotence
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heartburn
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Impaired concentration
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Irritability
  • Chronic sleepiness

Effect on Children

What’s especially concerning, however, is that obstructive sleep apnea affects 2 percent of children and has made headlines in recent years because it’s so common. Still experts say doctors often overlook it, and that some children are being inappropriately diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated, while the underlying sleep problem goes untreated.

 

Many studies suggest that kids with sleep apnea are more likely to be hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive. It affects behavior and mood, so these kids can look a lot like a kid with ADHD.

 

At the same time, the more experts learn about sleep apnea, the more concerned they become. Left untreated, sleep apnea may affect parts of the brain involved in learning, taking a toll on cognitive function and academic performance, and shaving points off a child’s IQ. Sleep apnea also seems to play a role in childhood obesity, since children who don’t get enough rest are less physically active. The sleep disorder has been linked to depression, too.

 

A simple test can be taken called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Additionally, a Sleep Questionnaire should be filled out by anyone who regularly observes the potential sleep apneic.

 

How We Can Help

In our office, we treat snoring and sleep apnea with a unique approach. For example, we can provide you with a home monitor to help you (and us) assess whether or not sleep apnea should be a concern. If sleep apnea is a concern, we may recommend a Mandibular Advancement Device as treatment. Using this device will keep your airway open by moving your lower jaw forward. These appliances reduce sleep apnea associated health risks without the need for surgery, medications, or other therapies.