Snoring, If not related to sleep apnea, can still be very disruptive and interfere with the ability to get necessary restorative sleep for the person snoring and their bed partner.
So disruptive, in fact, studies have shown similar symptoms as those found in a person with OSA. The only way to know if a person’s snoring is or is not related to OSA is with a proper, simple medical evaluation.
Oral Appliance Therapy is indicated AND WORKS VERY WELL for patients with primary snoring without OSA.
There may be a fine line between “Do I only Snore” and “Sleep Apnea”. It is important to know what side of the line you are on. At Coastal Virginia Sleep Solutions, we work with physicians to help you figure that out.
Snoring and sleep apnea are caused by an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This obstruction causes turbulent air flow which produces vibrations of the soft tissue. The sound generated from these vibrations is called snoring. Historically snoring has been a social problem with the bed partner being the victim and the snorer the object of many jokes. It was often thought to be a normal part of aging … “doesn’t everyone snore when they get older?”
Today, snoring is known to be a possible sign of a serious medical problem, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). These two terms describe parts of the continuum of sleep-disordered breathing. This spectrum ranges from the slight vibration of the oral tissues at its mildest, to death from asphyxiation at its most extreme. In between lies snoring and periods of complete closure of the airway called “apnea”.
When you fall asleep, the muscles and tissues of the airway relax and the airway becomes smaller. The flow of air causes the relaxed tissues of the mouth and throat to vibrate producing a “snoring” sound. The more the tissues relax, the narrower the airway becomes which tends to speed up the flow of air. This which makes the relaxed tissues vibrate at various pitches.
These same tissues, when relaxed enough, can actually close the airway (OSA) and cause periods of silence (the relaxation of the tongue can cause it to fall back and touch the back of the throat). Eventually, the body realizes it is suffocating due to this airway closure and arouses the sleeper (does not awaken) to a “less-deep level of sleep”, thus causing the body to move in an attempt to re-start or improve breathing.
In the sleep apnea patient, this process may be repeated 40 to 60 times per hour resulting in severe disruptions to normal sleep. This leads to an increased risk of significant health problems and can even be the cause of sudden death from a stroke or heart attack. Seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment will not only reduce or eliminate your elevated risk for these concerns but will improve your overall quality of life.