Feb 25, 2009
For many years we have known that heavy snoring causes major increase in risk of carotid Atherosclerosis and stroke. This has been widely established through published research. One such reasearch published in "Sleep" the journal of sleep disorders shows that this risk in independednt of the risk for sleep apnea and nocturnal hypoxia. Carotid Atherosclerosis( hardening or clogging) is a major cause of storkes.
In a recent published study in Sleep, it was shown that heavy snoring in abscence of sleep apnea also seriously added to the risk for carotid Atherosclerosis and stroke. In this study a group of 110 volunteers were broken down into three groups based on the severity of their snoring. Mild snorers , snored less than 25% of the time, moderates snorers, snored 25-50% of the time and severe snorers snored more than 50% of the time. The prevalence of carotid artery hardening increased along with the severity of the snoring. Non of the volunteers showed oxygen desaturation.
A previously published article in JAMA, reported that snorers have a 300% increase in motor vehicle accidents. Both snoring and sleep apnea are associated with increased daytime sleepiness and reduced mental abilities in both adults and children. Further more, snoring in children has been associated with poor performance in school and ADHD. Sleep apnea has been shown to permanently affect brain development in children. It is well known that emotional , hormonal, cognitive and autonomic nervous system changes occur in patients with OSA. A recent study in July issue of Sleep, showed that many of these problems remain even after successful treatment of the sleep apnea.
It is estimated that 15-54% of middle aged adults snore. Snoring is a major warning sign for sleep apnea, a much more serious and life treathening disroder that affects 4% of middle aged males and 2% of middle aged females.
While the gold standard of treatment for this problem is CPAP, or continous Positive Air Pressure machines , it also remains one of traetments with the poorest complaince rates. A properly trained Sleep Apnea dentist who is also trained in the treatment of TMJ can provide these patients with another alternative treatment. Patients generally preferre Oral applainces to CPAP machines.