Provided By Center for Advanced Dentistry
You may think of snoring as a mild nuisance, but it can actually be indicative of a serious sleep-breathing disorder known as sleep apnea (SA). Snoring occurs when soft tissues block air passages. A variety of factors can contribute to snoring, including tongue and jaw position, throat size, and tonsil or adenoid size. Snoring does not necessarily indicate SA, and many patients who snore do not have SA.
Sleep apnea occurs when the airways are blocked to the extent that the person stops breathing at intervals of ten seconds or longer. The continual oxygen deprivation prevents the person from receiving a restful night’s sleep, because he or she must awaken enough to breathe. If left untreated, SA can lead to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, acid reflux, heartburn, depression, and memory loss.
If you snore, gasp for breath at night, or sleep restlessly, you may have SA. Other signs include dry mouth, dizziness, inability to concentrate, morning headaches, irritability, and falling asleep when driving, reading or sitting quietly. A sleep study will help Dr. Hornstein determine if you suffer from sleep apnea and what method of treatment is right for you.
Two new studies tie sleep apnea to increased cancer risk. The Spain study followed 5,200 SA patients at sleep clinics for seven year. Those with the most severe form of SA have a 65% greater risk of developing cancer of any kind. The Wisconsin study followed 1,500 government workers with SA. Those with the most breathing abnormalities at night have five times the risk of dying from cancer than people without the disorder.