Although we often confuse them, regular snoring and sleep apnea are actually two different conditions. Obstructive sleep apnea involves a complete blockage of the airway during sleep. Snoring, on the other hand, is caused by partial airway blockage that creates loud vibrations (snores) as air passes the throat tissues. Although snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, not all snoring is apnea-related. In our last post, we discussed how obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for a wide range of cardiovascular health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Today, we’re taking a look at current research that suggests regular snoring could set the stage for cardiovascular health problems later on.
Don't Ignore the Snore
A study conducted at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital suggests that snoring might be more than a point of contention between sleeping partners. Researchers found that snorers without sleep apnea tended to have thickened lining of the carotid artery, a condition that restricts adequate oxygen from reaching the brain and leads to hardened arteries. Hardened arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, are a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.
Researchers working on the Henry Ford study admonished snorers – and their sleep partners – to take the condition a little more seriously. Seeking treatment to stop snoring and practicing homecare techniques that reduce snoring severity can help you maintain better heart health and help your bedmate get a better night’s sleep.
How Your Dentist Can Help
A dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon can provide several treatment options to reduce the severity of your snoring. In addition to surgical techniques that remove excess tissue that partially blocks the airway during sleep, a dentist can also prescribe an oral appliance, a mouthguard-type device that moves the jaw in such a way that the airway remains open throughout the night.
The Best Homecare Technique to Stop Snoring
Your first step to reducing your snoring (and even your sleep apnea symptoms) is to lose weight and lead a more active lifestyle. Overweight and obese people who lead sedentary lifestyles are far more likely to snore and suffer from sleep apnea than their trimmer, more active counterparts. Weight loss and a regular walking program have both been shown to improve sleep apnea and snoring symptoms in clinical studies. Shoot for losing 10% of your body weight. To help you accomplish this goal, incorporate at least four 30-40 minute walks into your weekly schedule and try reducing the amount of sugar you consume daily.
About Dr. Marco Cueva
Marco Cueva, DDS, MS is a board-certified periodontist with extensive training and experience providing a variety of sleep apnea treatment options, including oral appliances and surgical solutions. New patients can schedule an appointment with Periodontic Excellence at our Allen, TX dental office by calling 972-390-9944.