I have patients who come to me and say, “I snore, but it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I sleep really well. But my snoring bothers my spouse to the point that they’ve kicked me out of the bedroom. Can you help me get back in?”
Snoring in some ways has long-been accepted as just a condition that some people have, with no real consequences except for the annoyance and aggravation of those who sleep next to or around them. It’s a condition that is most often associated with overweight men – and while it’s true that obesity hypoventilation (OHS), is a breathing disorder experienced by some obese people, this isn’t the only group of people who experience snoring or other sleep-disordered breathing. Anyone can.
It’s More Than Just Snoring
Snoring is a major symptom of sleep-disordered breathing. While weight can very much be a factor – for all individuals both men and women – there is also a very real connection between TMJ and sleep apnea (a sleep-disordered breathing condition). In fact, 85 percent of TMJ patients have sleep issues and 75 percent of sleep apnea patients have TMJ. And even though the two are often connected, one condition does not necessarily cause the other. Unfortunately, TMJ and sleep apnea can go undiagnosed sometimes for years.
Besides the fact that TMJ and sleep disorders are difficult to diagnose, there are a number of reasons people don’t get treated for years:
- People often assume that snoring is a condition that occurs as a natural part of aging
- Others just ignore it, they don’t recognize it as a symptom of a sleep disorder
- Some just choose to overlook the situation – a snoring spouse or partner may make it hard to get a good night’s sleep, but they just accept the snoring as a part of life
- Many snorers may believe they don’t really snore
Understanding What’s Really Going On
I’ve mentioned sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a group of disorders involving difficulty breathing that can disrupt your sleep. Sleep apnea is one of the more serious forms of sleep-disordered breathing. It is a serious condition that, left untreated, can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, or can lead to irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease, and decreased libido. Some 26 percent of Americans are at a high risk for sleep apnea.
There are a number of signs that can help determine whether you are experiencing sleep apena or another sleep-disordered condition. If you find that what you consider to be “just snoring” is affecting the quality of your sleep – or the sleep of loved ones – consider speaking with a healthcare professional who is specialized in sleeping disorders. Learn more by visiting, www.drshabkrish.com