Sleep Apnea: Warning Signs and What to Do About Them

by Dr. Diane Hourigan

Approximately ten percent of American adults suffer from sleep apnea, but as obesity rates continue to climb in this country, so do the statistics for those dealing with sleep apnea. For spouses, partners and roommates the world over, apnea can be a noisy bother, but it also increases the risk of heart disease and seriously affects the quality of sleep that sufferers get in the course of a night. Because of its dangers, it is important to know what causes it and what you can do to correct it.

Sleep Apnea Warning Signs

Loud, Persistent Snoring

One of the most obvious and frustrating side effects of sleep apnea is loud, persistent snoring, which may not bother the sufferer, but almost certainly will be a problem for the spouse or partner with whom they share a bed. Often, it’s the spouse who recognizes apnea as a problem because of this loud snoring. They can’t get the sleep they need with so much noise next to them.

Gaps in Breathing or Gasping

Spouses and partners may also notice gaps in breathing, where the snoring stops momentarily only to be followed by a loud gasp and then more labored breathing. This sudden gasping can be taxing on the heart and certainly can affect the quality of sleep that you’re having.


That lack of quality sleep, then, leads to drowsiness, which not only can make it hard to get through a day of work, but also can be quite dangerous for those that drive drowsy. If you are a snorer and often find yourself sleepy during the day, sleep apnea may be the culprit.

What You Can Do About Sleep Apnea

Lose Weight

There is a direct correlation between sleep apnea and obesity, so one natural way to decrease the effects of sleep apnea is to lose some weight. It’s not a quick fix, but it is an effective and inexpensive one.

Consider a CPAP Machine

CPAP machines are a common solution for sleep apnea, as well, but they can be expensive and they don’t necessarily work for all people. They also are not convenient for travel and can be uncomfortable for those that sleep with them on. They are one possible solution, but not the only solution.

Oral Appliances from Your Dentist

In fact, at Dr. Diane Hourigan’s office, we often build custom oral appliances to treat sleep apnea, and they work wonders for patients in search of a comfortable, affordable, convenient solution to the condition. We monitor the results to make sure the appliance is the appropriate therapy solution, but in many cases we have seen excellent results from people who opt to use an oral appliance rather than a CPAP machine.

If you are interested in finding a solution for your sleep apnea, contact the office of Dr. Diane Hourigan, and we will be happy to go through your specific options in person. We want to help eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms of sleep apnea, and an oral appliance is one convenient way to go about doing that.