You go in for a dental filling and suddenly snoring comes up. Up to 40% of men and 20% of women suffer from snoring when they sleep. It usually causes little concern however in some cases it can become life threatening. This blog is Part 1 of two blogs which run through some important points about obstructive sleep apnoea. If you suspect you or someone you know may have this condition please call your medical doctor or call us at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538 and we can put you in touch with some amazing experts in this field.
What is obstructive sleep apnoea?
Snoring can indicate you have a more serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea is when your breathing is interrupted many times throughout your sleep. Each interruption may be from ten seconds to two minutes long. Obstructive sleep apnoea can be dangerous because it can increase your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, stroke or heart attack. Did you know, if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea you are 7x more likely to get heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t? We recommend that anyone who snores should see their medical doctor to test for obstructive sleep apnoea. A simple sleep study could save your life.
How do you get obstructive sleep apnoea?
When was the last time you thought about how you breathe? Chances are, it doesn’t cross your mind too often. Let’s simplify breathing. During the day, you draw air in through your nose. This air travels down the back of the throat past the uvula (the thing that dangles at the back of your mouth), soft palate and tongue. Throughout the daytime, our facial muscles hold our airways open, allowing us to breathe. In our sleep however, these muscles relax. If the muscles relax too much, then you get a collapsing in or obstruction of your airways. When this happens, you need to work harder and use your chest wall muscles in order to breathe properly. But by doing this, the walls of your airways collapse and cause an obstruction. If this obstruction is significant, you may develop obstructive sleep apnoea. Having a narrow airway, a large tongue, being obese or drinking a lot of alcohol at night can also place you at a higher risk of getting obstructive sleep apnoea.
Signs of obstructive sleep apnoea
So how do you know if you have obstructive sleep apnoea? Many people have no idea they have this condition, however, the most common symptom is snoring. Other symptoms include:
- waking up feeling tired
- waking throughout the night due to choking or not getting enough air
- having a sore and dry throat when you wake up
- waking up with a headache
- wanting to take naps throughout the day
- not being able to concentrate during the day
- loss of sex drive
- forgetting things
- feeling irritable
Tune in next week for Part 2 of this blog. If in the meantime you have any questions or need a local family dentist, give us a call at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.