Has this ever happened to you? It’s 10:00 p.m. and you just finished watching your favorite TV show. As you pad through the kitchen, you grab the last drink of water and head to bed. Fortunately, or maybe, unfortunately, your spouse has an early day tomorrow and decided to get some extra rest, heading to bed a little while before you. As you climb in, ready for a full night’s rest, your spouse moves, takes a loud breath – snorting through the nose – and settles back down to a rhythmic snore. Sure, you have noticed it before, but never witnessed this “deep breath” event that you just saw. It was almost as if they were not breathing for a period of time. And just you moving to get into bed caused them to take a breath and resuscitate themselves.
Now, you are on complete edge. Your “fight or flight” mechanism is kicked in and kept you sleeping with “one eye open.” Every little toss and turn made you cock your ear toward them to double-check whether or not they were breathing. You wonder what is going on and try to rationalize the snoring noise that you have become used to. “At least, you say to yourself, if I can hear them make noise, I know that they are still alive.”
Too many times, this is the scenario that is played over and over in countless bedrooms across America. Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is at epidemic proportions in our population. It is even seen in children as young as 3 and 4 years old!
One of the first signs of SDB is snoring. In children, there should be NO snoring at all. Children sleep quietly. Adults should be the same. Snoring is caused by a vibration of air rushing over the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat tissues. It can be just simple mouth breathing at night. At other times, it is reflective of sleep apnea and is an early warning sign of troubles ahead.
These warning signs are especially concerning if there is:
- Snoring over many years
- Teeth clenching and grinding
- Snorer is over-weight
- There are witnessed events of stopped breathing, gasping, choking for air
- Morning grogginess and fatigue
There are 4 common signs that can be observed that will give a significant clue about SDB. These include:
- Forward head posture – the ear is ahead of the shoulders and the hip.
- A flat upper lip.
- The uvula (the small “punching bag” at the back of your palate) is not visible with the mouth open and the tongue in the floor of the mouth.
- Crowded lower front teeth. If the upper jaw is too narrow, then the lower jaw develops to fit into the upper jaw like a foot fits a shoe.
Long term issues of snoring lead to oxygen deprivation and starve our vital organs of the necessary air that they need to carry on at their best. Deprivation over a period of time will lead to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even Alzheimers.
Contact the Open Airway & Breath Institute today, Dr. Robin Steely, DDS and our team are ready to help you find renewed energy and health. Together we’ll find the right solutions to help you address your overall well-being. We welcome patients from Battle Creek, Bedford Charter Township, Kalamazoo, Portage, Marshall, Richland, Holland, Grand Rapids, Hastings, Charlotte, Springfield, and Coldwater. Please contact us or call 269-968-8151, we look forward to working with you!