Although snoring seems physically harmless, it can be a red flag for a much more serious and sometimes fatal condition called obstructive sleep apnea. But what is sleep apnea? Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses, blocking airflow into the lungs. The harder the person tries to breathe, the tighter the airway seals. This airway obstruction persists until the brain partially awakens the person. Unconsciously, he or she will close the jaw returning the tongue and throat to a normal position.
The pattern of falling asleep, jaw relaxing, airway collapsing, unconsciously awakening with a gasp, and falling back asleep can repeat itself 50 or more times per hour during the night. With a blocked air passage, the person does not receive enough oxygen. Both the awakenings and oxygen deprivation can then trigger severe health problems.
A sleep apnea device can alleviate snoring and sleep apnea by holding the mandible forward during sleep, thereby preventing the tongue and soft tissues of the throat from collapsing into the airway. This is because the sleep apnea devices are based on the same principles as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). By not allowing the tongue and soft tissues to collapse the airway, a sleep apnea device maintains a clear airway to reduce snoring and improve breathing.
So talk to Dr. Stuart Rimes about a sleep apnea device that is right for you, and start dreaming of a good night’s sleep.