Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Rancho Santa Margarita
People, apparently men more than women, snore (noisy breathing while asleep) for several reasons, including flabby tissue in the throat, loose or long soft palates, or obstructed nasal passages. Sleep apnea (the temporary cessation of breathing) is a result of some of that redundant tissue or the base of the tongue covering the wind- pipe. Snoring and sleep apnea prevent a good, deep night's sleep, which can lead to a sleepy day, even narcolepsy. Undue stress on the heart can also be a result of a poor night's sleep. And, now, according to a Wall Street Journal article, a Yale University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that obstructive sleep apnea can triple the risk of stroke or death. 4% of adult men and 2% of adult women in this country suffer from the malady, including, according to a 2003 study of three hundred players, about 14% of the National Football League.
Besides disturbing your neighbors night with loud snoring or gasping for breath, other symptoms my include excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating, falling asleep while at work or driving, morning headaches, memory problems, weight change, irritability, or gastro-esophageal reflux.
Many people only know that they suffer from this condition when their spouse complains about the noise, or lack of it.
Treatment via Medication
In a conversation recently with a practicing clinical psychologist about the negative results of sleep deprivation, like from sleep apnea, or just plain too-few hours of sack time (all the literature says that eight hours is the minimum), she said that the biggest issue is the replenishment of neuro-transmitters (chemicals in nerve connections ((Synapses)) like serotonin, acetylcholine, or dopamine) that could, among other things, lead to depression. The conversation went to pharmaceutical sleep aids, like Temazepam or Ambien. I asked if taking drugs like that were habit forming on a long term basis. She was of the opinion that the negatives from sleep deprivation wee worse than the negatives from long-term dose of drugs.
There are surgical procedures used today to cut away redundant tissue and open up the breathing passage. Alternatively, I make a non-invasive removable oral appliance (like a retainer) that comfortably re-positions the lower jaw forward, thereby clearing the base of the tongue away from the windpipe. I have tried several designs, both on myself and patients with similar problems, and have finally found THE WINNER. My wife and my neighbors, and all the patients for whom I've made this appliance and their neighbors, are very grateful. We all awaken more refreshed in the morning because we got a more profound, more restful nights sleep.
Incidentally, a patient told me today that in a hospital sleep study he had 168 sleep apnea episodes without the appliance, and seventeen episodes with it. Also, he had a seventeen per cent reduction in blood oxygen while sleeping without the appliance, and only a three per cent reduction with it.
If your sleep habits are disturbing other people, this is definitely worth a try before going the surgery route.
My office is at Oso and Antonio Parkways in Las Flores. Please contact us at 949-459-7212 if you have any questions about this situation.