Sleep Disordered Breathing-scroll down to see about snoring and sleep apnea
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.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
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)
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
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
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
Heavy Snoring & Heart Disease
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
Sleep medicine dentists can control snoring with an oral appliance.