Do your family members or roommates complain about your snoring? Can they hear you from the next room? Loud, frequent snoring is not normal and is typically caused by some type of obstruction in your airway, triggering tissues to vibrate against one another.
But how can you know whether your snoring is the sign of something more serious or life-threatening, such as sleep apnoea?
Sometimes people snore when they have sinus congestion, are fighting off a cold, or even if they drank alcohol before going to bed. Occasional snoring isn’t inherently anything to be seriously worried about. However, if you’re snoring more often than not and experiencing other symptoms of a sleeping disorder, it’s important to see a healthcare provider.
If you’re able to link your snoring to seasonal allergies or alcohol intake, there are medications or lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sleep quality. But when symptoms are beyond your control or coincide with other warning signs, it could be cause for alarm.
People who have sleep apnoea tend to experience restricted airflow, because of how their soft tissues close up the back of their throat. When they sleep, their tongue tends to slip back against their soft palate and tonsils. If tissues are already enlarged, loose, or restricted, it prevents them from being able to breathe in and out normally. When limited oxygen flow occurs, tissues in the back of their throat vibrate against one another, causing them to snore.
Aside from snoring, someone with a blocked airway may also stop breathing or gasp in their sleep.
Not everyone with sleep apnoea will snore. And not everyone who snores will have sleep apnoea. But if you do snore, it’s important to rule out other warning signs of a sleeping disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA.)
Common symptoms of sleep apnoea include weight gain, headaches, fatigue, depression/irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even a low libido. If you feel tired all day, every day, there’s a good chance that you’re not getting the quality of sleep that your body needs to function properly.
A lack of energy isn’t the biggest concern for people with sleep apnoea. Rather, cardiovascular attacks and stroke are. People with undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnoea are statistically more at risk for a heart attack, hypertension, and stroke than people with managed sleep conditions.
“Toughing it out” simply isn’t worth it. Especially since it could cost you your life. By taking action to improve your sleep quality, you can better care for your heart. Your family will thank you!
Our dentist can screen for symptoms of sleep apnoea during your exam, as many of the red flags are visible inside your mouth. If you snore frequently, be sure to request an appointment with us today.
7 STAR EXPERIENCE
Dr. Manish Shah is a cosmetic dentist with a special interest in porcelain veneers, dental implants and Invisalign in Sydney. He is also a medical doctor with an expertise in sleep & craniofacial pain medicine practising at Smile Concepts.