Snoring is the sound of partially obstructed breathing during sleep. While snoring can be harmless, it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).When Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs, the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and completely block the airway, which restricts the flow of oxygen. The condition known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), is midway between primary snoring and true obstructive sleep apnea. People with UARS suffer many of the symptoms of OSA but require special sleep testing techniques.
Over 18 Million American’s suffer from Sleep Apnea according the the National Sleep Foundation. Shaquille O’neal is no exception and a recent article in Yahoo Sports confirms that (Shaquille O’Neal’s girlfriend schools him on sleep apnea). Many professional sports players suffer from sleep apnea without knowing it. A recent study on 300 NFL players, conducted by Dr. Charles George, professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, it was discovered that players experience obstructive sleep apnea at a rate five times higher than other men their age, according to the published results of the study found in the January 23, 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study points out that certain characteristics are common in those with Sleep Apnea. High blood pressure, obesity, neck size 17″+ in men and 16+ in women, as well as the factors from the list below. For athletes neck size is a main contributor, the fat or muscle on the neck can often squeeze the airway making it harder to breathe at night when the muscle or tissues relax.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Feeling tired even after a full night of sleep.
- Experiencing consistent headaches in the morning.
- Snoring loudly and frequently.
- Making choking or snorting sounds during sleep.
- Stopping breathing during sleep.
- Suffering from depression or irritability.
- Family member who has sleep apnea.
- Experiencing unexplained weight gain or is having a hard time losing weight.
- Frequently getting up to use the use the bathroom during the night.
- High blood pressure.
- Falling asleep while driving or during periods of daytime inactivity.
- Neck size of 17in+ (men) or 16in+ (women)
- Waist size of 40in+ (men) 36in+ (women)
- Body Mass Index (BMI) 30 (men) and 26 (women)
- You are woman with Hypothyroidism or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- You are a menopausal or postmenopausal woman.
Reggie White, nicknamed “The Minister of Defense”, was a professional football player who played defensive end for 15 seasons in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers becoming one of the most decorated players in NFL history. His life was cut short in 2004 when at the age of 43 he suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep. Reggie White suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which was a contributing factor to his premature death.
Reggie White had a CPAP, his wife Sara White said “he used his mask hardly ever”. Sara White knows firsthand the importance of finding a treatment that will work for you and sticking with it. She has started the Reggie White Foundation in an effort to build awareness to the symptoms and risks of sleep apnea.
People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of death than the normal population. Suffers can experience a potentially crippling deterioration in daily functioning, an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke, depression and death either in accidents or in their sleep. Family members often feel effects when dealing with their loved one’s frequent irritability, mood changes, lower sexual drive, and reduction of intellectual ability.
The impact of untreated obstructive sleep apnea stretches beyond an individual’s own household – businesses are affected by underperforming workers and lower productivity, while communities are impacted by increased insurance costs as a result of accidents and health care needs. These health care resources are often expended to treat and alleviate the consequences of obstructive sleep apnea, such as heart disease and cardiac arrest, instead of treating the underlying cause.
Treatment options for Snoring and Sleep Apnea may include CPAP, Surgery, or oral appliance therapy. Unfortunately many patients have a hard time wearing CPAP and would prefer a non-surgical approach. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association 40% of patients quit wearing CPAP within the first few months. “The oral appliance provides a comfortable alternative to CPAP,” says Dr. Rod Willey of the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Conquer Snoring, Sleep Apnea, and Fatigue with a comfortable oral appliance. The Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine provides services to the Peoria, East Peoria, Bloomington, Galesburg Illinois (IL) areas. Call 309-243-8980 to schedule a consult today.