The Best-Kept Secret About Snoring

​ Everyone hates snoring. The person snoring in their sleep hates it because they never truly get the rest they need, and the person trying to live with someone who snores especially hates it because they get no sleep! In some cases, the snoring may be so loud that moving to another room doesn't even help. Snoring can cause such a rift in relations...
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8 Ways Sleeplessness Shows in Daily Life

​ No matter how hard we try to hide our feelings, sometimes our bodies give us away. When your sleep is consistently interrupted or low quality, your body begins to notice in more ways than just feeling tired and grumpy. Here are eight other signs that you aren't getting enough sleep. No. 1: You find yourself always hungry and craving fatty, sugary...
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May Is Better Sleep Month

Every May, the Better Sleep Council, or BSC, sponsors Better Sleep Month with an aim to raise awareness about how poor sleep, especially on a regular basis, can negatively affect our lives and our health. The organization also places an emphasis on all the benefits of getting better sleep to improve our daily lives and overall health.

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Sleep Apnea and Irregular Heartbeat Could Soon Be Detected By FitBits

If you haven’t heard of FitBit, it’s a digital wristband company that creates products worn like watches to track activity and movement. Users track how many steps they’ve taken each day and set goals that the devices then remind them of throughout the day. They are essentially tools that aid in the process of getting healthier and moving more.

Now, FitBit is attempting to use the data it collects to help with diagnosis of sleep apnea and irregular heartbeat, or afibrillation. FitBit reports having over 105 billion hours of heart-rate data already and 6 billion nights’ worth of sleep data. This is all in addition to the 200 billion minutes of exercise tracking data collected.

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Is Childhood Snoring a Sign of Something Serious?

The snoring habits of middle-aged men have been the subject of sitcoms and comedy skits for decades. In fact it may seem like adult males are the only ones who snore. Unfortunately, women and children often suffer from chronic snoring too, and since the topic is much less talked about, it can leave them with more questions than answers.

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Could Sleep Apnea Increase the Risk for Alzheimer’s?

According to new research published in the the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, elderly people with obstructive sleep apnea may have an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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New Cannabis-Like Drug Could Help with Sleep Apnea

The first multi-site study conducted at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois Chicago for a medication to treat obstructive sleep apnea was recently found to be safe and effective. The drug, a synthetic cannabis-like pill called dronabinol, underwent a phase two trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. The medication was approved over 25 years ago by the FDA for treating symptoms of nausea and vomiting for chemotherapy patients. The recent study was the longest and largest randomized, controlled trial to ever be conducted on a potential medication for sleep apnea.

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Yoga Spreads Relaxation All the Way Down to DNA

Americans are busier than ever. Today’s modern professionals are all juggling more than ever before. Pressures run high to be the best, the brightest, the most qualified for the job all while trying to balance a personal life, which for some includes the relationships and needs of spouses and children.

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At-Home Wrist Monitor Could Replace Lab-Based Sleep Studies

Sleep studies in a lab have always been one of the most frustrating parts of diagnosing a sleep disorder for most patients. The environment is unfamiliar and it can be hard to relax enough to sleep like you would at home, not to mention the high cost of spending the night in a sleep-study facility.

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Children Who Snore Could Have Sleep Apnea

Thanks to television sitcoms, when you picture someone who snores until the house shakes, you likely picture an overweight middle-aged man. For years this was the typical sleep apnea patient and the most likely to get diagnosed and treated for the condition. Over time, research has shown that women and children also suffer from sleep apnea and that they often go undiagnosed, according to Dr. Amy Norman of Dream Smile in Everett, Washington.

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Snoring Isn’t Funny

Contrary to what every sitcom has tried to convince you, snoring isn't a laughing matter. Why? Because snoring is a breathing disorder that’s on a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum you have snoring, and on the other end you have severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring is a sign that your breathing during sleep is not normal. It can even be a warning sign of a sometimes severe disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

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What Kind of Doctor to See for Sleep Apnea

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million people in the United States alone, and the disorder is likely to be under-diagnosed. For those who do seek treatment, one of the most confusing parts is deciding what kind of doctor to see. Here are five different medical professionals who treat sleep apnea and why you would consider each one:

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Women Get Sleep Apnea, Too

 When you picture the typical sleep apnea patient, what comes to mind? For many, it's an image of an overweight, middle-aged man snoring through the night. This is a common conception not only with the general population, but also with doctors, according to Dr. Amy Norman, DDS, a dentist in Everett, Washington, who treats many sleep apnea patients in her practice.  

"For years, men have been the poster children of sorts for sleep apnea," she said. "There are many reasons for this. Women are affected differently by sleep apnea in many cases and don’t always snore. They are often misdiagnosed since their symptoms don’t always align with a doctor’s idea of what a typical sleep apnea patient looks like."

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Disrupted Sleep Could Increase the Risk for Alzheimer's

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis has found a link between disrupted sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. The study, conducted in partnership with Stanford University and Radbound University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and published in the medical journal Brain, shows that continued poor sleep during middle age could increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease as the patient ages.  

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Snoring Can Tear a Marriage Apart

 Loud, obnoxious snoring. It’s an issue that comes up in sitcoms and television shows with increasing regularity. The audience laughs on cue as the spouse covers their head with a pillow and tries to fall asleep next to a gasping and snorting partner. But how funny is the true reality of this situation for the spouse of a snorer?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 90 million Americans snore and up to half of them are snoring due to a sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This condition is characterized by gasping, snorting or snoring during sleep. This occurs because the airway is blocked which causes the patient to stop breathing for several seconds up to thousands of times a night.

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Does Your Child Show Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea afflicts 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Patients with the disorder experience brief, but repeated, interruptions of their sleep, which occur as a result of the patient’s airway becoming blocked. While the majority of sufferers are adults, the American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 4 percent of children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and the majority of these young patients goes undiagnosed. That is, at least until they visit a dentist. 

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Simple Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Over 25 million adults have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Sleep apnea can be caused a variety of factors such as being overweight or obese, smoking, age or family history. This disorder can cause extreme fatigue in sufferers, and also has serious health implications. Sleep apnea can even cause dental health issues. Historically, treatments for the disease include lifestyle changes like losing weight, surgery or using bulky machines at night. A relatively new and simple dental treatment is eliminating these invasive or clunky treatments - giving patients a good night's sleep and a new lease on life

Obstructive sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses last about 10 to 20 seconds and can happen 30 or more times in an hourlong period. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the muscles of the throat become too relaxed during sleep. When these muscles relax, they fall and block the airway. When the airway is blocked, patients stop breathing and wake up, often snoring, gasping or choking to begin breathing again.

Sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications like depression and high blood pressure. Patients with untreated sleep apnea are also five times more likely to die from heart disease than patients who are receiving treatment for the disorder. Research also suggests a link between the disorder and diabetics’ ability to control their blood glucose levels.

One method of treatment for sleep apnea is surgery. Unfortunately for sufferers, no one particular surgical procedure can stop sleep apnea, and surgical options vary between individuals. Surgical options include removing the tonsils, adenoids and other tissue in the mouth or throat. Some patients also have surgeries to move the jaw forward or expand the palate to increase the airway. Surgery is invasive, painful and runs the risk of infection and other complications.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea involves using a continuous positive airway pressure machine. CPAP machines are designed to blow a constant stream of air into the airway to keep it from collapsing when throat muscles relax during sleep. The air is delivered via a mask worn by the patient at night. Many sleep apnea patients complain that the mask is bulky and uncomfortable, according to Dr. Amy Norman, D.D.S., P.S., of Everett, Washington.

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When Snoring is a Sign of Sleep Apnea

Snoring can be a pain to deal with, but it may also be a sign of more serious condition: sleep apnea. Because snoring is often disregarded as a minor inconvenience, people are often unaware that they suffer from the condition. But the numbers are striking. According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. But when is snoring really a sign of sleep apnea? It’s a question Dr. Norman hears from many of her patients. We answer a few frequently asked questions to get to the root of it.

 

What causes snoring?

There are number of causes of snoring, however, snoring is most often a result of loose or excessive tissue at the back of the throat that collapses into the airway while you sleep. This tissue vibrates as you breathe in, causing the noise associated with snoring.

 

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Are you living with sleep apnea?

Pay attention to your breathing for a minute. Are you primarily taking in air through the nose or the mouth? If the answer is the mouth, you may want to be tested for sleep apnea. 

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea and many are not receiving adequate treatment. The disorder is characterized by interruptions in breathing at night. Frequent, loud snoring is a common symptom, although the two are not mutually exclusive. Some patients report waking up rapidly at night and others say they feel exhausted after a full night’s rest. 

Mouth breathing is dangerous because it’s not how our bodies were designed to function. Air intake through the nose delivers the correct amount of oxygen to the body at the rate that it was designed to get there. Nasal hairs act as filters that trap bacteria from getting into the bloodstream. 

Over time, the effects of sleep apnea can become severe. The disorder puts a large amount of stress on the body, often resulting in problems such as high blood pressure, heart stroke and accelerated obesity. It also negatively affects many existing conditions. 

If you would like information about treatment options for sleep apnea, please contact Amy Norman D.S.S., P.S.