Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Oswald B. Burstein DDS, Inc.
snoring, Sleep Medicine, obstructive sleep apnea
f you snore loudly and often, you may be accustomed to middle of the night elbow thrusts and lots of bad jokes. But snoring is no laughing matter. That log-sawing noise that keeps every one awake comes from efforts to force air through an airway that is not fully open.
It's basically like water running through a pipe. If the water runs abnormally through the pipe, it will vibrate. The same thing happens with airflow when it is partially obstructed.
Perhaps ten percent of adults snore and although, for most people snoring has no serious medical consequences, for a small segment, it is the first indication of a potentially life threatening disorder called "Obstructive Sleep Apnea".
Sleep Apnea is defined as the absence of breathing for more than 10 seconds. The severity of sleep apnea is categorized by the frequency of the 10-second apnea episodes. If the frequency is less than 5/hour, it is considered normal. From 5-15 episodes/hour, it is mild. From 15-25 episodes/hour, it is moderate and from 20 episodes/hour or more, it is considered severe.
When one enters the deeper levels of sleep needed to rest a person and heal a body, the muscles of the body relax. The tongue is a muscle and relaxes too. When it does this, it falls back over the airway and throat tissues. The partial coverage causes snoring. The full coverage, if 10 seconds or more, is called Sleep Apnea.
obstructive sleep apnea
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