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Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep Disordered Breathing-scroll down to see about snoring and sleep apnea

The term Sleep Disordered Breathing describes a range of sleep breathing disorders that include: snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Disordered Breathing is a continuum of these conditions. Simple snoring represents the mildest disorder that is noticed when breathing during sleep is very loud due to the near collapse of the upper airway. When the snoring becomes worse, due to further airway collapse, more effort is required for breathing and sleep becomes interrupted. This condition is referred to as upper airway resistance syndrome. The most dangerous problem in the continuum is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea describes the condition when oxygen levels in the blood drop as a result of the complete collapse of the airway. During an apnea, breathing cannot occur, and the sleeper is forced to awaken to resume normal breathing.

Sleep Apnea-What/Why, and how it is treated. (Click this to learn more)

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)

The term 'upper airway resistance syndrome' denotes an entity characterized by the presence of daytime fatigue or sleepiness in the presence of a normal respiratory disturbance index and oxygen saturation. Despite some similarities, certain specific clinical and diagnostic features distinguish it from the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. The essence of diagnosis lies in the documentation of increasing esophageal pressures during sleep with associated transient EEG arousals. Furthermore, the evidence suggests an abnormal blood pressure response to the changes in esophageal pressures and arousals.

Gastroesophageal Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a disease that refers to the clinical manifestations of reflux (backflow) of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is the most common disease of the esophagus, affecting up to 40% of adults. Typical symptoms of GERD include heartburn, abdominal discomfort, difficulty swallowing, and acid regurgitation. This acid irritates the esophagus because it doesn't have a special lining to protect it like the stomach does.

GERD that occurs at night is called nocturnal GERD. Although reflux episodes occur less frequently at night than during the day, the esophagus lining is exposed to the stomach's corrosive contents much longer at night. When you lie in bed, the protective effect of gravity is lessened. Researchers also believe that apnea episodes may cause a negative pressure in the esophagus which will then work like a vacuum to bring the acid up from the stomach. Complications of nocturnal GERD include erosive esophagitis and the precancerous condition Barrett's esophagus, as well as esophageal cancer. Sometimes the acid comes all the way up into the mouth where it can cause damage to the teeth. Your dentist should look for this during periodic exams.

Many people who have been successfully treated for apnea have experienced a reduction in GERD symptoms.


Snoring-treatment is the same for this as sleep apnea, but not as advanced.  See sleep apnea link above.

Almost half of adults snore. And the problem is worse with overweight persons.


What Makes the Snoring Noise?

Snoring occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the free flow of air through the mouth and nose. The sound occurs when loose structures in the throat, like the uvula and soft palate, vibrate as air passes over them.

Snoring can get worse when the muscles in the back of the throat are too relaxed either from drugs that induce sleep or alcohol consumption.




Snoring can be serious both socially and medically since it often is associated with sleep apnea.


Snoring & Relationships


Snoring can disrupt marriages and cause sleepless nights for bed partners.


Snoring & Health


Medically, snoring can be the precursor of obstructive sleep apnea that has been linked to heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. In its own right, snoring has been linked to Type II Diabetes. Sleep apnea usually interrupts loud snoring with a period of silence in which no air passes into the lungs. eventually the lack of oxygen and the increase carbon dioxide will awaken you forcing the airway to open with a loud gasp.


Heavy Snoring & Heart Disease


Heavy snorers are also more likely to suffer a heart attack while asleep than non-snorers. Blood pressure changes caused by snoring may lead to blockage of the coronary arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.

Sleep medicine dentists can control snoring with an oral appliance.

Sioux Falls
3405 S. Cathy Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
(800) 516-7631
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