The primary issue in sleep apnea is obstruction of the airway opening. This occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat go slack while the patient is asleep and cover up the airway. When the obstruction is incomplete, the air will create some noise – snoring – as it makes the tissues vibrate.
When the airway is completely obstructed, your brain actually recognizes that there is a problem and wakes you briefly to restore normal breathing. This happens repeatedly during the night and is severely disruptive to a patient’s sleep.
Snoring is not the only symptom associated with sleep apnea. These signs may also indicate that sleep apnea is a problem for you:
Patients who experience any of the symptoms listed above should undergo a sleep study and pursue sleep apnea treatment if that condition is diagnosed. There are multiple treatment options available, so you can find one that fits your needs.
While the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask is the gold standard in sleep apnea treatment, it’s also widely recognized that many, many patients do not comply with CPAP therapy because the mask is uncomfortable or inconvenient or triggers anxiety.
Fortunately, patients do have an alternative to CPAP. Oral appliance therapy is far more comfortable and convenient, and compliance rates are much higher. After all, CPAP therapy can’t do its job if you don’t wear the mask.
When thinking about whether to pursue sleep apnea treatment, it’s important to remember that the effects of this condition reach far beyond a cranky romantic partner. Sleep apnea can have serious consequences for your health, increasing the risk of obesity, stroke and high blood pressure.
To improve your health and the quality of your relationship, consider your options for sleep apnea treatment.
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