All Posts Tagged: high blood pressure

It’s Just Snoring

 

While many people do snore, heavy or severe snoring isn’t part of a healthy sleep pattern. Snoring is a sign that you’re not getting enough air with each breath. Pauses in breathing mean that your airway has closed. This is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Snoring can also be a symptom of a serious health condition like heart disease.

If anyone tells you that you pause in breathing, snort or gasp while sleeping, or you consistently feel unrested in the morning, you should be evaluated for Sleep Apnea.

Symptoms of serious snoring problems:

  • periodically stop breathing for a couple seconds at a time
  • high volume of snoring is a sign that your body is working really hard to get sufficient oxygen
  • excessive daytime sleepiness

Lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • losing weight
  • not sleeping on your back
  • avoid alcohol or drugs that relax your nervous system
  • quit smoking (It’s proven that stopping smoking immediately makes it easier for a person to breath better.)

Proper sleep stages throughout the night are important for the body to repair and restore different organs and systems while we sleep. We typically should go through 4 sleep stages every 90 minutes or so, throughout the night. Each sleep stage has its job of what gets restored. Snoring, restless sleep, gasping, frequent waking can all be signs that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea; a potentially deadly condition.

In a study[1] of 744 college aged who had only mild/moderate obstructive sleep apnea and normal blood pressure at baseline were followed for high blood pressure. There was a strong association for young and middle-aged adults to develop high blood pressure because of their mild-moderate sleep apnea. They also had a higher statistical onset of metabolic syndrome (early diabetes). Older adults (over age 60) didn’t develop high blood pressure. Age seemed to be a benefit.

Custom and highly specific orthotic appliances are provided for differing TMD conditions and offer an alternative to CPAP for patients suffering from snoring and Sleep Breathing Disorders.

Credentialed Dentists in Dental Sleep Medicine and TMJ can work with your sleep doctor to design, adjust, and monitor your progress. Oral appliances are easy to wear and travel with. They require monitoring by a trained dentist periodically.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring, we can help get them diagnosed and treated before high blood pressure or pre-diabetes develop. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the healthier you will be over the decades.

[1] Mild-to-Moderate Sleep Apnea is associated with Incident Hypertension: Age Effect

Alexandros N Vgontzas, MD Yun Li, MD Fan He, MS Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, PhDJordan Gaines, PhD Duanping Liao, MD, PhD Maria Basta, MD Edward O Bixler, PhD

Journal SLEEP

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Why can’t I get to sleep?

In an article from the American Sleep Association they recommend some of the basics to start with such as avoiding caffeine for several hours before bedtime. They report that brainwave patterns during can continue to show effects of a double espresso coffee 16 hours after it was consumed! In the same study, the measurable level of caffeine spit showed the caffeine to be gone.

Caffeine is reported to be the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. It’s followed by tea, pop, and energy drinks.

If you are having problems with insomnia, try to stop all caffeine by lunch-time for a couple weeks and see if your insomnia improves. Caffeine can also act by arousing you out of deeper sleep which may be noticed as you not feeling rested despite having slept for 7 or more hours without consciously waking up.

Besides caffeine, sleep breathing disorders (snoring, sleep apnea, Upper Airway Resistance) also affect sleep quality and depth. It can also leave you feeling unrested in the morning on a consistent basis. UARS is especially prevalent in pre-menopause and menopause. Hormones are protective against airway collapse and as they decrease, sleep breathing disorders tend to show up.

Typically sleep apnea is reported by bedpartners as loud snoring, pauses in breathing – sometimes with a gasp, jerks while sleeping, lack of dreaming, among other signs and symptoms. Women with UARS rarely snore or aren’t aware of waking throughout the night; they just feel unrested.

Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib, an abnormal heart rhythm) is associated with sleep apnea due to the interruptions in oxygen that irritate the heart muscle/blood flow. Drug resistant hypertension (high blood pressure) is also associated with sleep breathing disorders, especially in a single drug is ineffective at controlling your hypertension.

There is no identifiable reason or genetic link for sleep that can be found. Our bodies decay daily and our creator made a complex biochemical self-reboot mechanism to refresh our brains, bodies, and every system needed for being awake in every creature. It’s fascinating to learn about the small details of what sleep does and, the differences between men and women in some aspects of sleep.

If you’re having trouble with sleep, ask your physician about a sleep study, or see a sleep specialist. Dentists such as myself who are credentialed in Dental Sleep medicine work closely with physicians to get people screened and treated for their sleep disorders. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is an effective and easy option for the treatment of Sleep Apnea at any level of severity as well as some other sleep breathing disorders for those who don’t want to use CPAP.

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Why is High Blood Pressure a symptom and side effect of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Every time you have an apnea (a total block of air for 10 seconds) or hypopnea (partial breathing block) the “fight or flight” reflex is triggered.

With each event, the heart rate and blood pressure increase.  It’s the same feeling you get when you’re scared suddenly; a little sweating, hard to catch your breath, and your heart pounds for a few seconds.

  1. Apneic’ s have this sympathetic response many times per hour, all night long. The body begins to be in a constant state of alert.
  1. With Sleep apnea, the body is chronically low on oxygen. Oxygen is needed to produce nitric oxide in our sinus’ and blood. Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator- it relaxes the blood vessels and decreases the work of our heart. In sleep apnea the blood vessels chronically tighten and don’t get to relax and repair. The higher blood pressure causes damage to the inside of the artery. This contributes to plaque and more narrowing. As the arteries get narrower it places a higher burden on the heart which leads to heart attacks, strokes, and chronic high pressure.
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