Snoring and Sleep Apnea...like sleeping next to a freight train!
I absolutely love my grandmother. Whenever she comes to visit, it is the highlight of that particular season. She is full of funny stories and quaint songs that she likes to sing as she putters around the kitchen and slowly and steadily pulls off some fantastic meal. At night after we had said our prayers, she would turn out the light, get into the bed next to mine...and proceed to snore until the walls shook. Every night as a child I would wait for the sound. It was like a runaway train caught in a wind tunnel. But even worse than the snoring was the silence as she would stop breathing for one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi...sometimes up to twenty seven-Mississippi before she would gasp, choke, and snore again. This would last all night with me wide eyed and counting until I finally fell asleep.
Sleeping next to someone who snores is uncomfortable and at times scary. And being someone who suffers from sleep apnea is even worse. According to the latest research, patients with sleep apnea never really enter into a deep sleep cycle which causes constant fatigue and can lead to heart problems and sometimes death. A sleep study can help diagnose the type and the severity of the sleep apnea, but there are a few good options for treatment. For patients with extremely severe sleep apnea that is a constant threat to life, the only hope of cure is surgery. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can perform jaw surgery which you can get a good idea of here.
For more moderate to severe cases, CPAP is also another option. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a mask you wear at night that blows and constant flow of air into your nose and mouth. At such high pressures, your airway never really has a chance to collapse on itself and you breathe all through the night. CPAP is good for some people, but a lot of patients complain about the mask and the noise and the fact that their mouth and nose are dry in the morning. For those patients we recommend a sleep apnea appliance. These appliances work well, and for many patients greatly improve their sleep apnea symptoms without the CPAP.
I'm happy to say that my grandmother will be 89 this year and she's still just as funny and sweet as I always remember her. She didn't let sleep apnea get the best of her, and you or your loved one don't have to either!