RECENTLY, Dr. Alison Robinson, principal dentist from Geelong Smile Studio, travelled to the prestigious Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies to attend lectures on advanced dental sleep medicine.
Snoring is not cool, it is not normal and it can be a very serious medical issue that requires medical attention.
Snoring occurs when there is partial obstruction and subsequent vibration of the soft tissues at the back of the throat.
As snorers drift off to sleep, the tongue, soft palate, uvula (little thing hanging down at the back of your mouth) and muscles of the throat drops to the back of the throat and can obstruct the airway.
Snoring has been reported to affect some 40 per cent of the adult population and it is a major red flag.
In an alarming 40 per cent of snorers, it could be an early sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
Patients with OSA actually stop breathing, yet they are trying to breathe.
As a result, there is no airflow of oxygen.
Oxygen levels can become lowered to the point where your brain tells you to wake up and take a breath, (often with a long, loud gasp) before the cycle repeats again.
In these cases, often, the snorer does not even know that they have awoken.
Screening for OSA
Since Geelong Smile Studio has commenced screening for OSA, we have found some people repeating this stop-wake-up-breathe cycle up to 100 times per hour.
One patient was referred to a medical sleep specialist and was confirmed whilst sleeping to be obstructed from breathing for up to 60 seconds at a time.
Try doing that whilst awake!
Furthermore, if your body has been fighting to get oxygen all night, do you think it has rested?
Some frightening statistics on OSA
- The average age of death of people suffering from untreated sleep apnoea is 55;
- Sufferers have a 15 per cent higher mortality rate than the general population;
- There is an increased risk of elevated and poorly controlled blood pressure (hypertension);
- There is a greater incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and higher cholesterol;
- Compared to the general population, people with OSA have a 23 per cent greater chance of a heart attack;
- There is a significantly greater chance of suffering a stroke (65-80 per cent of stroke patients have OSA);
- 15 per cent of OSA patients have diabetes compared to only 3 per cent in the general population;
- OSA is more prevalent than diabetes and asthma in our population;
- OSA lowers the threshold to depression;
- Sufferers are three times more likely to have acar crash causing serious bodily harm.
Some signs and symptoms of OSA
- Bed partner reports gasping or irregular breathing whilst sleeping;
- Excessive daytime sleepiness;
- Impotence and decreased libido;
- Impaired concentration and learning difficulties;
- Teeth grinding;
- Morning headaches;
- Retruded lower jaw.