What is a Sleep Breathing Disorder (SBD)? Any obstruction or condition that affects the free movement of air in and out of the body, reducing the amount of oxygen available to the person’s blood supply during sleep, falls into the broad spectrum of SBDs. This would include naturally small airways complicated by large tonsils, large uvulas that may have become enlarged due to snoring, and large tongues or tongues that don’t have sufficient space due to a narrow lower jaw. The inability to breathe properly through your nose also puts stress on your airway.
A common SBD is snoring. Not only can snoring be annoying to your partner but it is a very common symptom of a bigger problem – Sleep Apnea (SA). Sleep Apnea is the Total Cessation of breathing. Other common symptoms of SA include excessive daytime sleepiness and hypertension (high blood pressure.) S A can also be related to Acid Reflux (GERD), morning headaches, Diabetes, sexual dysfunction, memory problems and night time grinding of teeth. Some contributing factors to SA are obesity, large neck circumferences, menopause, and mouth breathing.
The statistics supporting the seriousness of SA include:
- 1 in 5 adults are affected
- 48% of Diabetics
- 30% of Cardiac patients
- 50% of people with AFIB
- 37% of people with High Blood Pressure
- And the list goes on and on.
If you suspect that a friend or loved one is struggling to breathe while sleeping, I urge you to have them seek professional help.
Dentists educated in Dental Sleep Medicine have an opportunity to evaluate patients for SBDs each time they come into their office for Hygiene services. It is a service we take very seriously.
There is a very simple test that can be done in the comfort of your own home to determine if there is a problem and the severity of the problem.
If your dentist or primary care physician does not provide these simple tests please contact my office for a free consultation and home test to determine if you at risk.
Gary R. Selby, D.D.S., P.A.