DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Chronic snoring can cause heart disease

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Your heavy snoring can be funny sounding or irritating to your sleep partner, but it certainly is not a joke! It’s most often the sign that you have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA increases your risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and all kinds of other cardiovascular problems.

Patients with OSA stop breathing for 10 to 60+ seconds during sleep and this can occur from very few times to several hundred times each night. Snoring is caused by not having sufficient space in the back of the throat.

There are chemicals within the brain that are monitored to trigger breathing. As oxygen levels drop in OSA, cortisone, adrenaline, and other hormones increase greatly and contribute to higher blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. This may lead to heart failure, heart attack, and even sudden death.

Some symptoms for OSA

• Daytime sleepiness

• Falling asleep/being drowsy while driving/watching TV

• Snoring

• Waking up gasping/choking

• Headache/sore throat upon waking

• Unable to focus at times

• Feeling non-refreshed after sleeping

• Acid reflux (GERD)

• Atrial fibrillation — irregular heartbeat

• Prior stroke/heart attack

• Obesity

Taking action —

effective treatment

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device with a mask that creates pressure to open the airway is one way to treat OSA. But most patients find CPAP hard or erven impossible to tolerate. And many of them do not know that there is a comfortable alternative to CPAP.

Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are oral appliances fabricated by a qualified dentist. They advance the lower jaw (mandible). Since the tongue is attached to the mandible in the front of the mouth, this advancement will move the tongue forward and will open the airway. These devices are a comfortable alternative to CPAP.

• • •

Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help patients stop their snoring and live free with no limits! Obstructive sleep apnea is usually able to be treated with a small oral appliance. Dr. Johnson’s office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The website for more information is www.NWSleepDoc.com and the office phone is (208) 667-4551. Schedule a free consultation appointment today!

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