When most of us think of people who snore, we believe that they’re sleeping at everybody else’s expense. However, the truth is that most people prone to snoring or sleep apnea (pauses in breathing) have a harder time sleeping, which not only affects their health but also their paycheck.
A recent study from the University of Copenhagen used Danish National Patient Registry records from more than 161,000 people to determine the socio-economic consequences of snoring and related disorders. The study found that people who snore, have sleep apnea, or suffer from obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS — a nighttime breathing disorder that results in low blood oxygen levels) were significantly 30 percent more likely to be unemployed and those without these sleep disorders.
Those with sleep disorders who were employed earned less than people without sleep problems. To compound the problem, the group spent on average $1000 (snoring), $5000 (sleep apnea) or $15,000 (OHS) more on health-related expenses. The study also pointed out the very serious health risks for those with sleep apnea or OHS. Those with sleep apnea had a 28 percent higher risk of death than their counterparts, while those with OHS carried a 73 percent higher risk.
In short, sleep disorders are not just annoying to those trying to sleep around people suffering from snoring, sleep apnea, or obesity hypoventilation syndrome. These are serious medical conditions with significant social and financial impact.
There are different types of sleep apnea — obstructed sleep apnea is the most common, and is caused by the airway becoming obstructed by the tongue, tonsils, soft tissue, or excess fat deposits in the neck and throat. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain doesn’t notify the body that it needs to breathe. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of the two, and is often caused when obstructed sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. The key is to let Dr. Matthews or your physician know if you are experiencing headaches, drowsiness, or not sleeping well.
Dr. Matthews can easily treat snoring with an anti-snoring mouthpiece, unless the snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. In that case, you will need to see a sleep specialist to get properly diagnosed. After that, Dr. Matthews can help with your sleep apnea treatment to keep you breathing safely at night. Dr. Matthews helps patients understand the various dental appliances and aids that are available to treat snoring and sleep apnea.
If you want to read an overview of the Danish report, click here . To make an appointment to see Dr. Matthews about problems sleeping, click here. We look forward to helping you and your loved ones sleep better soon.