Snoring may be an irritating and slightly embarrassing experience, particularly for the spouse or partner of the person who snores. While "sawing logs" might make a person the brunt of some jokes, snoring is really no laughing matter.
Approximately 45 percent of the population snore. Of those, about one in three men, and one in five women, suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. Studies have concluded that people with sleep apnea have a 40 percent greater likelihood of dying earlier than their peers.
That's because sleep apnea is linked to several serious health concerns, such as:
People with untreated sleep apnea are twice as likely to experience heart disease events or fatal heart attacks.
Obstructive sleep apnea is thought to cause an enlargement of the left atrium over time, which can lead to the development of irregular heart rhythm.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Both GERD and sleep apnea may be affected by excessive weight. Sleep apnea and other sleep disordered breathing issues cause the throat to close, which can increase the risk for GERD.
The intensity of snoring may be related to narrowing of the arteries in the neck, elevating a patient's susceptibility to stroke.
Frequent urination through the night
Patients with sleep apnea occasionally experience nocturia, the need to urinate two or more times per night.
A recent study of more than 250 habitual snorers found a connection between sleep apnea and frequent morning headaches.
Injury and accidents
Obviously, interrupted sleep that causes extreme daytime sleepiness is a major factor in the risk for work or automobile accidents.
Mental health issues
Lack of sleep increases irritability and has been shown to increase a patient's chances of experiencing anxiety or depression.
Sleep apnea may have additional links to reduced libido and pregnancy complications.
Mark A. Cruz, DDS, is a respected doctor, author, lecturer, and researcher in airway dentistry. As the co-developer of a Multi-Disciplinary Airway Collaborative, he has worked with other physician specialists to share education and communication regarding sleep disordered breathing issues. His advanced training in sleep disordered breathing aids in his assessment of warning signs such as excessive tissue, tooth wear, mouth breathing, tongue positioning, and facio-skeletal development to diagnose sleep apnea.
For more information about snoring, sleep disordered breathing, and sleep apnea, contact the practice of Mark A. Cruz, DDS, which serves patients in Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, and surrounding South Orange County communities. Appointments and consultations may be scheduled by calling (949) 661-1006.