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Snoring, Hypopnea, and Apnea, (OSA)

When you are sleeping, muscles and tissues of the upper airway can close down and narrow or totally block the opening in the throat, interfering with air movement. A smaller opening can cause the tissues to reverberate and make loud noises when the air is passed by. This is snoring. If your blood oxygen saturation level falls at least 4%, this is Hypopnea. If these tissues completely block the upper airway a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea can occur, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of times a night.

Snoring, most times is considered a mild condition and generally results in limited daytime symptoms. Disrupting the sleep of the snorer's bed partner is the most common problem. A simple snore guard can help alleviate or lessen most snoring symptoms.

Hypoxia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are much more health threatening conditions. OSA is the more severe, life-threatening, condition of the two, in which the sufferer stops breathing repetitively throughout the night. As a result of these frequent breathing stoppages, oxygen saturation levels in the bloodstream often drop to dangerous levels. Blood pressure and heart beat rates rise as oxygen levels fall. Sleep patterns are disrupted because the body must fight to breathe. This causes the individual to suffer from extensive daytime drowsiness,(103 million people fell asleep at the wheel last year). You are 12 times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident if you suffer from OSA.

If untreated, OSA can be life-threatening. It will dramatically increase the risk of heart attacks, and strokes, especially while asleep. 
The most common symptom of OSA is snoring. Other symptoms include frequent headaches, GERD, high blood pressure, impotency, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's disease.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can shorten one's life expectancy by 12 to 15 years. 
The general risk of death increases by 46%.
A person is 23 times more likely to have a heart attack if they suffer from sleep apnea.
80% of all nocturnal strokes are from OSA.
It increases risk of death from cancer 4.8 times
Women who habitually snore have developmentally delayed babies 7% of the time.

The most effective way to treat obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure,(CPAP, for short). However, in 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggested that oral appliances can be used as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. FDA approved appliances are used to treat OSA work by advancing the mandible/tongue and holding the jaw in the forward position, increasing the free space in the back of the throat. This prevents upper airway tissues from collapsing and causing a sleep apnea event. There are hundreds of studies documenting the efficacy of this treatment.

Oral appliance therapy is one of the most effective treatment tools available for OSA. Frequently, patients will feel a positive result by the next morning.