Sleep apnea treatment preserves relationships in Sacramento
An estimated 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of women are habitual snorers. In many cases, their gurgles, roars, rattles, and snorts are symptoms of a much more serious condition. If you are in this situation, please schedule a visit to Sacramento Natural Dentistry, a practice that provides effective sleep apnea treatment in the Sacramento area, before it takes a toll on your health and your intimate relationship.
More than a snore
Loud, chronic snoring is a sign that something isn’t working right in the respiratory path. It could be obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
While anyone can have OSA, it is most common in men who are overweight, since they tend to accumulate fat deposits around the upper airway. A congenitally narrowed airway, enlarged tonsils, asthma, or chronic nasal and sinus congestion are also contributing factors. Smokers, diabetics, and those with hypertension (elevated blood pressure) are more likely to be apneics.
For an individual with OSA, a typical night goes something like this:
- You nestle into bed and begin to drift off.
- A few normal breaths are taken.
- Soft tissues at the back of the throat, and the tongue, relax too. They collapse, obstructing or impeding the course air takes from the mouth and nose into lungs, and back out.
- Respiration becomes shallow and uneven and may halt completely.
- Normal blood oxygen level should be between 95 and 100 percent in a pulse oximeter reading. During an episode of OSA, it may drop as low as 80 percent. Bear in mind that anything lower than 90 percent is considered dangerous, and the brain can only survive about four minutes with no oxygen.
- Your brain senses this dangerous situation (as if you were drowning or being choked). It sends a surge of adrenaline to stimulate your fight or flight survival instinct.
- You jolt awake with a jerk or snort and take a few deep gasps of air.
- You may become roused enough to get up and use the rest room or change position.
- Then the cycle repeats. A person with severe OSA may have 30 or more episodes an hour, making it virtually impossible to settle into deep, regenerative REM sleep.
Sleep deprivation has far reaching health impacts – physically and emotionally . . . and on relationships.
For most people in intimate relationships, the physical nearness of sleeping together has a powerfully binding emotional effect. Thus, continually disrupted sleep can be damaging in an equally powerful way. At a clinical level, lack of restful sleep leaves us moody and irritable, and contributes to feelings of anxiety and depression.
It also triggers what mental health experts call our “complaining psychology.” When we feel helpless about our circumstances, we tend to vent about surrounding issues. Snoring is especially damaging because it raises feelings of guilt in the snorer and burdens the non-snorer with responsibility for doing something – anything – to get some sleep.
This may mean being “the bad guy,” repeatedly poking, pushing, or rolling the snorer to stop the noise. The situation often deteriorates to the non-snorer migrating to another room for the remainder of the night, possibly sneaking pillow and blankets back to the bedroom by morning. Eventually, the temporary solution becomes the norm, weakening the security, closeness, and intimacy of shared sleep.
Quick relief for snoring
If you snore, please visit an integrative physician for an evaluation of your respiratory tract and a sleep study. Once you have an accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea and its severity, the problem can be managed.
Sleep apnea treatment in Sacramento doesn’t have to mean CPAP. For some couples, one partner wearing a face mask tethered to a noisy appliance simply adds another layer of resentment and disruption to their sleeping arrangement. While CPAP therapy is effective with good compliance, it isn’t the only solution to OSA.
For many patients, oral appliance therapy resolves or dramatically improves OSA and snoring. This custom-fit dental splint looks something like a sports mouthguard. Slip it discreetly into place at bedtime. The device depresses the tongue while gently repositioning the jaw to keep the airway open for natural breathing. The appliance is easy to clean, and quite portable for travel.
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