If your partner snores, it’s probably bothersome to you. Dealing with the sound can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. In many cases, snoring is harmless aside from the lost hours of rest, but it could be a sign that something serious is wrong. Snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
You may have heard the term “sleep apnea” before, but you might not know what it means. It is actually a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for a short amounts of time while they’re asleep.
The most common form is called obstructive sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the tongue or soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. In many cases, the person will gasp awake multiple times throughout the night.
Recognizing Sleep Apnea
There are several different symptoms, other than snoring, that may point to sleep apnea. Being able to spot these signs can help you or your loved one get help and prevent more serious problems down the line:
- Waking up unable to breathe.
- Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat.
- Trouble staying asleep.
- Excessive sleepiness throughout the day.
- Inability to pay attention.
- Morning headaches.
If these symptoms sound familiar for you or a loved one, you should consult an oral surgeon. They’ll be able to perform a complete examination to determine if sleep apnea is the culprit and whether you should have a sleep study performed.
Overcoming Sleep Apnea
The treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the individual case. Many people with mild forms of the disorder see positive effects from losing weight. Others experience better results with CPAPs, or continuous positive airway pressure machines. These devices maintain constant pressure in the airway to keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interfering with breathing.
When other methods have failed, oral surgery is used to overcome sleep apnea. This procedure is called maxilla-mandibular advancement (MMA). During this treatment, surgeons actually reposition the upper and lower jaws, which increases the size of the airway to provide relief.
If you or a loved one may be dealing with sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with OMSNashville today.