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Snoring and OSA The San Diego Patient’s Guide to Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Every night, millions of Americans aren’t getting the proper amount of restorative sleep due to snoring and sleep apnea. The good news is that we offer convenient snoring and sleep apnea treatments to help you get the sleep you need and live life to the fullest.


We’ve provided this guide to help you better understand sleep apnea and how it can be treated. At West Coast Snore & Sleep Apnea Solutions, we want to help you Sleep, Dream, Thrive!

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea During sleep, the muscles in the throat relax, narrowing the airway. As air pushes through these soft tissues it causes them to vibrate, producing a snoring sound. Snoring alone is not a health risk. But when irregular breathing patterns are paired with pauses in breathing as you gasp for air, you may have a more serious disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Obstructive sleep apnea is a common yet highly under-diagnosed disorder that robs the body of its ability to thrive. When a person is experiencing an apnea event, they can stop breathing for several seconds to several minutes at a time. Each time an apnea event takes place, oxygen quickly falls to dangerously low levels, triggering stress hormones to alert the body to gasp for air. These gasps for air also break the sleep and dream cycle, preventing the body from getting the restorative sleep it needs to function optimally.

How Do I Know if I Suffer From Sleep Apnea

The most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study, including an overnight exam conducted by a sleep specialist.


However, there are several sleep apnea symptoms and warning signs you can look for:

  • • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • • Frequent nighttime urination
  • • Sore throat or dry mouth upon awakening
  • • Daytime fatigue
  • • Difficulty concentrating or decreased mental clarity
  • • Poor work performance


The most frightening aspect of this disorder is that many sufferers do not even know that it’s affecting them. An individual with sleep apnea can have hundreds of apneic events every night and not even be aware of it.


If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend that you have a sleep study performed. At West Coast Snore & Sleep Apnea Solutions, we also offer a convenient home sleep test that can give your doctor the information they need to diagnose your sleep apnea.

Health Risks of Sleep Apnea

This disorder not only takes away your sleep but has also been associated with several other medical conditions including:

  • • Hypertension
  • • Stroke
  • • Impotence
  • • Acid reflux


CPAP Therapy

Your Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

CPAP Therapy

The standard option for treating obstructive sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP machine to keep your airway open during sleep. The CPAP machine is made of an air pump with plastic tubing attached to a mask that’s worn over your face at night. Pressurized air is forced down your throat through the mask to keep your airway open.


Many users find the mask uncomfortable and the pump too loud to fall or stay asleep. The sound can also keep your partner awake, putting a strain on relationships. For these reasons, many CPAP users simply stop using the device and continue to suffer from their sleep apnea, which puts them at a higher risk for additional health problems.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Dental sleep medicine doctors have created a proven alternative to maintain the opening of your airway during sleep without the hassle of a CPAP machine. Oral appliance therapy is more comfortable and more discreet than traditional CPAP therapy. The small appliances make no noise so you and your sleep partner can get a full night’s rest. Oral appliances are small, effective, non-restrictive, and can decrease your health issues related to obstructive sleep apnea, allowing you to Sleep, Dream, Thrive!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of using a CPAP machine?

In addition to being a noisy inconvenience to you and your sleeping partner, there are various side effects that make it difficult to continue treatment with a CPAP machine. Side effects may include:

  • Discomfort
  • Claustrophobia
  • Mask leak
  • Dry, stuffy nose, or nosebleeds
  • Skin irritations
  • Dry mouth
  • Infections

You’ll also have to regularly clean the mask and ensure you have a secure fit so the device works effectively. We find that the CPAP machine doesn’t fit into the lifestyle of many of our patients and that they prefer something more portable and easier to maintain like a customized oral appliance.

What is the relationship between sleep apnea and obesity?

About 70% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are also obese. In adults, there is a strong correlation between excess weight and obstructive sleep apnea. For every increase in BMI, there is a 14% increased risk of developing sleep apnea. With an increase in weight, there’s an increase in OSA severity.

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea symptoms, schedule a consultation with Dr. Henninger by calling (760) 940-2273. During your consultation, Dr. Henninger will review your symptoms, examine your mouth and throat, and determine if you’ll benefit from a sleep study. Once diagnosed, we can begin treatment right away.

What sleeping position is best for sleep apnea?

If you have sleep apnea, you may find some relief by sleeping on your side because your airway is less likely to collapse or restrict air. However, positional therapy may not be an effective option for everyone because there are various causes for sleep apnea.

For the best treatment, you’ll benefit from a multidisciplinary approach consisting of various lifestyle adjustments with the use of trusted solutions such as an oral appliance.

How does sleep apnea affect my heart?

With sleep apnea, your breathing abruptly stops and starts throughout the night. When your breathing stops, your heart rate slows-- when it starts again, your pulse and your blood pressure increase.

Constant changes in blood pressure put added stress on your arterial walls and can cause hypertension, arrhythmias, and increased inflammation. Physiological changes are also linked to heart disease.