Sleep Apnea, Snoring, and Sleeping Disorders FAQs

If you do not find the answer to your questions concerning obstructive sleep apnea, sleep disorders, or snoring below, be sure to ask us during your consultation:

Q: Is snoring a sleep disorder?
A: Likely. Snoring is common, but it is a sign that something isn’t quite right. Snoring often is a symptom of something greater. That could mean gasping or choking for air, restlessness, or a reduction in airflow while you’re sleeping. None of those things equal a sound, healthy night’s rest.

Q: Is there a difference between sleep apnea and snoring?
A: Snoring corresponds to an airway becoming partially blocked and the passing of air through the narrow airway causes your soft palate to vibrate, which results in the sounds associated with snoring.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked and there are delays in breathing. This results in a lack of oxygen for your body and brain, which cease to function properly while you’re sleeping.

Q: What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
A: Symptoms include heartburn, decreased sex drive, morning headaches, impotence, acid reflux, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, sleepiness, exhaustion, stroke, dry mouth, and the inability to concentrate throughout the day.

Q. How can I tell if my sleep partner or I have a sleep disorder?
A. Overall, males are more susceptible to developing sleep apnea, but if you or your partner snore, and you are overweight, have acid reflux, a deviated septum, a large tongue, tonsils uvula, or neck size, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If you have any of the listed conditions, you may want to consider partaking in a sleep evaluation, or performing a sleep apnea self-assessment. There are also many people without the previously mentioned conditions who are diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Q. Is a sleep test necessary if I just want an oral appliance?
A. You need to know if you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder before attempting to treat it, even with an oral appliance. A sleep test can most accurately determine what’s happening and the best course of action.

Q. How accurate are Pulse-Ox tests?
A. Pulse-Ox tests are performed overnight at home by you, so they may not be as accurate as getting a sleep test from a professional. A Pulse-Ox test might say you are fine, when in fact you are suffering from undetected sleep apnea.

Q. What are oral appliances and how do they work?
A. Oral appliances are fabricated mouth guards made to fit your mouth, which will adjust the position of your jaw to allow better airflow. These appliances also prevent the tongue or other tissues from blocking your airflow, allowing the proper amount of oxygen to reach your brain and body, resulting in better, healthier sleep.

Q. I found a cheaper oral appliance on the Internet. Why is yours more expensive?
A. Internet options don’t provide in-depth consultations, and you can’t know what kind will best help you and your sleep disorder by surfing the internet. While many appliances claim to be customizable, this often means you’re provided with a mold that you simply boil and bite into, like a boxer would for his or her mouth guard. This can result in a bulky and uncomfortable fit and it may not even help to keep your airway open while you sleep. An ill-fitting appliance can also cause problems with your bite.

Q. What are the negative affects of sleep apnea?
A. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, depression, diabetes, and even worsening of ADHD. Sleep apnea also causes exhaustion and fatigue during the day. If you live in the Birmingham area and are suffering from snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorder, contact Dr. Paige Lester today and sleep better tonight.