Sleep apnea with snoring is a common sleep disorder that is linked to systemic health conditions and causes chronic fatigue. In the past, sleep apnea often went undiagnosed and untreated. Today, however, patients have access to treatment through a sleep apnea specialist who can determine the underlying cause of sleep apnea and offer treatment solutions that work for a patient’s individual needs.
Sleep Apnea: Causes and Symptoms (Snoring)
While snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring can occur without apnea as well. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include memory loss, headaches in the morning, and irritability. Patients with untreated sleep apnea are essentially robbed a good night’s rest because soft oral tissues collapse into airways and obstruct a patient’s ability to breathe for short periods of time during sleep. To offset the cessation of breath during sleep, the brain sends signals to the body to wake the sleeper slightly to reinitiate the breathing cycle. This cycle of breathing cessation and wakefulness can occur hundreds of times throughout the night and prevents a sleeper from naturally progressing through the various stages of sleep that promote rejuvenation and adequate rest.
While snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring can occur without apnea as well.
Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea
The only way to know for sure if a patient has sleep apnea is for the patient to undergo a sleep study. During a sleep study, patients’ sleep activity and brain waves are monitored closely for signs of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Once sleep apnea has been diagnosed, patients can visit a sleep apnea specialist for treatment.
Treatment methods may involve the use of a CPAP mask, which emits a steady stream of air into the oral cavity to prevent soft tissues from blocking air passageways. Some patients also benefit from custom oral appliances that gently reposition the jaw during sleep to keep airways open. In some cases, minor surgery alleviates the causes of sleep apnea as well.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Larry Wolford's office using our online contact form or call 214-828-9115