Snoring and Sleep Apnea | Alexandria VA

“Advancing the mandible or the tongue or both (11–13), all these appliances induce their therapeutic effect by enlarging the upper airway. In 73–100% of adult patients oral appliances reportedly reduce snoring and in 50– 100% improve polysomnographic indexes, decreasing the apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) by at least 50% from baseline.” — AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE VOL 165 2002

Fill out our Contact Form or call us at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-239-6475 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singer today!

About Snoring & Sleep Apnea

airways picturesSnoring is a sound that is produced when the air passes through relaxed tissue in the back of the throat. Mild snoring can be treated easily with a sleep orthotic. However, when snoring becomes sleep apnea, the tissue collapses causing an obstruction – although other reasons can also cause obstruction like very enlarged tonsils or adenoids that may need to be removed to allow more airway space.

In the case of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it becomes difficult to breathe through the confined space that remains. For some people, the tissue collapses so severely that it totally blocks the airway and breathing ceases momentarily. The result is an apneic event. Apnea does not allow proper restorative sleep that is paramount for individual physical and mental health.

Sleep apnea is a disorder affecting tens of millions of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.  The two greatest types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea, which is mostly described here, and central sleep apnea in which the cessations in breathing during sleep are caused by issues with the brain not sending correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. Actual diagnosis and prevalence of sleep apnea is much higher than previously thought. In a recent study 45% of the population of Canada was found to have sleep disorders due to obstructed breathing. It affects men and women of all ages, even children. Apnea is a Greek word, meaning “without breath.” People affected by sleep apnea literally stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer, possibly occurring hundreds of times per night. Here’s what happens:

The heart and lungs panic, sending a distress signal to the brain. The brain, in turn, floods the body with adrenalin and quickens the heartbeat. The chest heaves as its muscles try to force the body awake in order to restore airway muscle tone and allows air to pass to the lungs again. The body succeeds and for a moment the airway opens, the individual gasps to breathe, then promptly falls back asleep and repeats this scenario over and over again. This unrestorative sleep does not allow proper restoration of brain and other organ function and prevents the body from eliminating toxic free radicals. (The definition of a free radical is “an especially reactive atom or group of atoms that has one or more unpaired electrons. In particular, one that is produced in the body by natural biological means or is introduced from outside of the body such as from tobacco smoke or other pollutants in the air.  Also, this atom or group of atoms damages cells, proteins, and DNA by changing its chemical structure).

Testimonials About Sleep Apnea


Call Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-239-6475 for a thorough consultation if you suspect you may be living with sleep apnea or a sleep breathing disorder.  Our qualified and dedicated TMJ and sleep apnea team is here to help you.

Symptoms

Can you imagine this action taking place hundreds of times each night? This is why apnea affects the cardiovascular system, causes sexual dysfunction, depression and can sometimes be fatal. The bad news is that most people don’t remember upon awakening that they had the episodes. Instead they notice symptoms like:

  • Often waking up during the night to go to the bathroom
  • Napping
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Depression / Anxiety
  • Weight Gain
  • Headaches upon awakening
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Being sleepy during daily activities (driving, reading, watching TV)
  • Awakening with a jolt, gasp or cough
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Feeling tired despite a full night of sleep
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic digestive disease)

If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to several serious systemic problems. For instance, these patients are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. OSA can contribute to hypertension, diabetes, liver/kidney dysfunction and congestive heart failure (CHF). Patients may also experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux), depression, memory loss, and erectile dysfunction. Many children can have OSA. Due to their lack of a full night’s sleep, some children are misdiagnosed as having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) because they cannot focus in school.

Causes

Snoring may be contributed to excessive weight, large neck, a small retruded jaw, sedatives, allergies or airway obstruction. For some adults, snoring is not a serious medical disorder but often can become serious in time or lead to apnea. However, when a person stops breathing for at least 10 seconds up to thirty or more times a night, this cessation of breathing is called apnea. Apnea puts a great strain on the cardiovascular system and may be the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

How Sleepy Are You? 

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a test we give to our patients to determine their level of daytime sleepiness. A score of 10 or more is considered sleepy. A score of 18 or more is very sleepy. If you score 10 or more on this test, you may think about whether or not you think you are getting enough sleep or could better your sleep quality. You may even think about talking to a sleep doctor about your sleep concerns.

Situation  Chance of dozing or sleeping

Watching TV ……………………………..

 _______

Lying down in the afternoon ………………………..

 ________

Stopped for a few minutes in traffic while driving ……..

________

Sitting and reading……………………………….

________

As a passenger in a motor vehicle for an hour or more ….

________

Sitting quietly after lunch ………………………….

________

Sitting in a public place  …………………………..

________

Sitting and talking to someone ………………….

________

Total score: …………………………………………………….

________

Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:  0 = would never doze or sleep;  1 = slight chance of dozing or sleeping; 2 = moderate chance of dozing or sleeping; 3 = high chance of dozing or sleeping

Learn about diagnosis and treatment options

Fill out our Contact Form or call us at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-239-6475 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singer today!