We are discovering that many people have a life threatening oral health-related disorder which has not been diagnosed. It is called Sleep Apnea.
The first symptom to watch for is loud snoring. While snoring is the subject of many jokes, it can also be a serious problem. Snoring doesn’t only interrupt your bed partner’s sleep (which is no laughing matter), it is also associated with sleep apnea, which can increase your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. If you snore or are a affected by someone else’s snoring, please read on.
Snoring is produced when the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth relax, making your airway smaller. The decrease in airway space increases the velocity of the air that flows through it as you breath, which, in turn, causes vibrations of the soft tissues of the mouth and throat. This vibration is what produces the “snoring” sound.
Ninety million adults in North America suffer from the effects of snoring. We are 100% committed to helping our patients with snoring and sleep apnea problems.
Another symptom is not sleeping well and being tired during the day. We have a screening tool to evaluate the amount of sleepiness you have during the day. It is called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and we encourage all of our new patients to use it.
To take the test, chose the most appropriate of the following numbers for each situation below:
0 = would never doze
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing
Sitting and reading _____
Watching TV _____
Sitting, inactive in a public place (eg: a theater or a meeting) _____
As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break _____
Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit _____
Sitting and talking to someone _____
Sitting quietly after a lunch with no alcohol _____
In a car, when stopped for minutes in traffic _____
Total (out of 24) _____
0-7 It is unlikely that you are abnormally sleepy
8-9 You have an average amount of daytime sleepiness
10-15 You may be excessively sleepy depending on the situation. You may want to consider seeking medical attention.
16-24 You are excessively sleepy and should consider seeking medical attention.
Apnea is a very treatable condition, yet it causes so many people to suffer. The only way to solve this problem is to identify it, and I hope that these tools will help you do that. Deep and sustained sleep is so crucial to your overall well-being. Everyone deserves to get the best sleep possible. If you have any concerns about this, I urge you to call us. It may save your life!