About Sleep Apnea


Signs and Symptoms


Normal Breathing:


During sleep, you should mainly breath through your nose.  Breathing through your nose allows for the air to be filtered, humidified, and contain more oxygen.  This ultimately leads to more restful night’s sleep.




The noisy sounds of snoring occur when there is a partial blockage to the flow of air through the air passages. Snoring is a result of the vibration of upper airway structures during sleep. When you sleep, the muscles of the body become relaxed, including the ones inside the throat and mouth. If the airway is partially blocked during sleep, when you breathe, the air cannot freely travel through the airway. The noise of snoring happens when the upper airway structures vibrate as the air from breathing struggles to pass by them. The area of obstruction is where the pharynx and tongue meet the uvula and soft palate.  The loudness of snoring can vary, ranging from seldom light snoring to a loud habitual snore. The later can result in a disruption of sleep for themselves and their partner. Snoring is disturbing and is a major cause of spousal relationship issues.


Causes of Snoring:


  -  sleeping on your back

  -  large neck size

  -  drinking alcohol or eating late at night

  -  being overweight

  -  large tonsils/ adenoids

  -  mouth breathing


Facts about snoring:


  -  may increase as you age

  -  40% of men and 24% of women are habitual snorers

  -  may increase with weight gain

  -  increases with a small airway

  -  10% of children snore

  -  alcohol, drugs, and muscle relaxers are contributing factors
     to snoring in men and women


Sleep Apnea:


Obstructive sleep apnea is when an individual's upper airway is completely blocked and no air is able to pass through.  Breathing stops for a period of time until the airway reopens, often resulting in a gasping for air.  This pause in breathing can last for longer than 10 seconds.  During the pause in breathing, there is a decrease in blood oxygen saturation, causing an arousal and disturbance in the individual's sleep.  These apnea events can occur hundreds of times a night, causing the individual to wake up feeling un-refreshed and tired.  Obstructive sleep apnea and the persistent decrease in blood oxygen saturation causes changes in the body which are closely associated with several medical conditions.


Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:


  -  snoring

  -  excessive daytime sleepiness or drowsiness

  -  morning headaches

  -  low energy level/low sex drive

  -  waking up in the morning feeling restless or unrefreshed

  -  night time grinding (sleep bruxism)

  -  falling asleep while driving, reading, or watching TV

  -  choking or gasping for air during sleep

  -  moodiness/irritability

  -  indentations on side of tongue

  -  deep overbite or retruded mandible (lower jaw)

  -  cheek biting

  -  memory loss


Medical Disorders Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea:


  -  high blood pressure

  -  gastric reflux or acid reflux (GERD)

  -  diabetes type II

  -  heart disease/stroke

  -  depression/anxiety

  -  weight gain

  -  grinding teeth at night (sleep bruxism)





Normal Breathing


Sleep Apnea

Pacific Coast Dental Sleep Medicine     PHONE  858.453.8520     ADDRESS 3222 Governor Drive   San Diego, CA 92122    EMAIL info@pcdsm.com