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Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Unbeknownst to many of us, a potentially silent, yet deadly medical entity could shorten one’s lifespan.  This is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA which affects 20% of the population.   What is obstructive sleep apnea?  When one sleeps, the jaw can fall back, especially if one is sleeping on his/her back which allows the soft tissue of the throat and tongue to collapse or fall back thus narrowing the airway.  Narrowing of the airway causes the airflow to increase in speed much like when one places a finger over part of the end of a water hose.  The speed of the air causes the soft tissue to flutter.  This causes the well-known phenomenon we know as snoring.  If the airway collapses completely, the airway closes off and breathing stops.  If this occurs for 10 seconds or longer, it is called an apnea.  If one has 5 or more apneas within an hour, one is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. 
Some of the possible symptoms one might experience are the following:
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Impaired cognition
  • Irritability/Mood Disorders
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Cessation of breathing usually noticed by your sleep partner
  • Snoring
If you have a number of these symptoms and wish us to investigate further, please notify us and express your concerns.  We are here to help you.
Thank you,
Edison C. Louie, DDS