Posted on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 at 4:44 am
An estimated 50% of all people will have an issue with snoring at some point during their lives. Snoring can become more prevalent as you get older, and is typically more common in men (40 percent of the population). However, 24 percent of women are also habitual snorers. For the most part, mild snoring—though potentially annoying to your spouse of partner—is harmless, but it can be a symptom of a far larger problem: obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual temporarily stops breathing while asleep and can happen between four and 30 times every hour depending on the individual.
For men, heavy snoring and sleep apnea may put them at an increased risk of hypertension, angina, stroke, and neuropsychologic dysfunction.
One method of treating sleep apnea is nocturnal oxygen therapy. In theory, nocturnal oxygen therapy should be beneficial by improving oxygenation and relievint tissue hypoxia, however, the results have been mixed, and in some cases oxygen may be harmful to your health.
Theory vs. Reality
The idea of giving patients suffering from sleep apnea oxygen during the night seems logical on the surface. Repeated pauses in breathing lowers oxygen levels in the blood during the night; thereby, giving the patient supplemental oxygen through a plastic tubing called a nasal cannula should stabilize oxygen levels and decrease the risk of future medical problems that are common in people with severe sleep apnea.
Unfortunately, supplemental oxygen has mixed, and in some cases, dangerous results. While the oxygen level in the blood does improve, the effect on the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) has been found to be negligible and severe drowsiness during the daytime—a common side effect of sleep apnea—doesn’t improve. Additionally, supplemental oxygen doesn’t target the high and dangerous levels of excess carbon dioxide that form during the night.
There are instances where supplemental oxygen is beneficial. Individuals suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) like emphysema without also suffering from sleep apnea have benefited from oxygen during the night. But when oxygen is used without relieving the airway obstruction that so often causes heavy snoring and sleep apnea, carbon dioxide levels increase resulting in patients waking up feeling confused or with serious headaches.
Sleep apnea is often caused by the collapse of tissues of the upper airway partially or even completely closing the throat. If this isn’t treated through bilevel therapy or in some cases surgery, oxygen will not reach the lungs.
Contact the Sleep Experts at Silent Night Therapy Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, be sure to seek treatment right away and get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Brown and the OSA team are here to help those with a history of snoring, who have obstructive sleep apnea, and those who can’t tolerate wearing a CPAP. Our team can diagnose and treat your sleep apnea with the use of effective oral appliances. Call us at (631) 983-2463 to schedule a consultation with us today.
Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2019 at 4:49 pm
For expecting mothers, a full and undisrupted night of sleep isn’t always a sure thing. More than three out of every four expectant women say they experience more disturbances while sleeping during pregnancy than they usually do. For the most part, trouble sleeping is a normal and harmless part of pregnancy. Unfortunately, sleep apnea—which affects many pregnant women—doesn’t fall under this category.
Sleep apnea causes breathing to start and stop multiple times during the night. Because sleep apnea deprives the woman’s body of essential oxygen, it can be dangerous for both the expectant mother and baby. A recent study suggests that women who experience sleep apnea while pregnancy has an increased risk of future health problems for both themselves and newborns including an increased risk of the baby requiring neonatal intensive care and the mother suffering from preeclampsia, or high blood pressure. Fortunately, future mothers suspected of suffering from sleep apnea may require treatment.
Understanding the Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway collapses during sleep, thereby blocking airflow and causing involuntary movements of shallow or no breathing that can last for a few seconds to a minute or more. Apnea often occurs after a pattern of heavy snoring and can happen between four and 15 times an hour for those with mild sleep apnea to over 30 times an hour for those suffering from severe sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is more prevalent in people who are overweight or obese due to the extra weight in the neck area, putting pressure on your windpipe or trachea. For expectant mothers that experience excessive weight gain during pregnancy, this risk can be more severe. A 2017 study found that over eight percent of pregnant women develop some level of sleep apnea midway through pregnancy.
Risks of Sleep Apnea and How to Treat It
Because sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing multiple times during the night, it lowers a person’s blood-oxygen levels putting them at risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Additionally, pregnant women may be at an increased risk of developing preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, both of which could be dangerous for the unborn child.
Most victims of sleep apnea are unaware they even have it because it occurs while sleeping, but over time, it will significantly impact your daily life. If you find yourself tired throughout the day, fall asleep while reading, watching television, or sitting in traffic, or notice changes in your mood, you should talk with your doctor about sleep apnea.
Treating sleep apnea usually involves changes to your lifestyle, including finding a healthy weight management plan, changing sleeping positions, and consulting with the experienced oral sleep appliance team at Silent Night Therapy.
Dr. Brown and the OSA team will help diagnose and treat sleep apnea during pregnancy and will work with you to find an oral appliance that will help you get quality sleep. Call us at (631) 983-2463 to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable and compassionate team today.