Has your partner complained about your frequent snoring? Do you frequently experience daytime sleepiness? Are you susceptible to morning headaches? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is characterized by frequent pauses during the breathing cycle during sleep, which can disrupt normal sleep, and can dramatically lower the blood-oxygen. Sleep apnea has been known to increase your likelihood of heart disease and stroke, and can even result in death if left untreated. According to a recent study, it affects an estimated 22 million Americans, with many others left untreated.

Traditionally, it has been diagnosed by a sleep study, which monitors patients all-night. But an emerging field of study is hoping to change this process and make it easier and more convenient for patients.

man snoring loudly in bed

A New Way to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

A new field of study known as automatic snore sound classification (ASSC for short), hopes to be able to diagnosis sleep apnea without holding patients overnight in an uncomfortable room. Because sleep apnea is often characterized based on snoring, the theory is that certain tones can be used to classify sleep apnea, as well as severity. The issue, unfortunately, has been a lack of data, which is where researchers from the Imperial College London, University of Augsburg, and Technical University of Munich come in.

In their most recent paper, they hoped to develop a generative adversarial network (GANs) that can properly synthesize data. To test their process, they tested their collective data, classifying the vibration location within the upper airways when patients snore, setting it against previous recordings. What the paper’s authors found was that they were successful in correctly analyzing which patients were diagnosed with sleep apnea. They say that the process can only be improved for this point forward.

Have You Been Diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is well known to be a run in families, especially the most common form, obstructive sleep apnea. That’s because this type of apnea is caused by blockages in the air pathways that can be caused by factors such as the size of a patient’s neck to allergies. Sleep apnea is also more common in those who are overweight. If you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist can help.

The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This is a type of therapy that continuously pushes air through the air passages, opening them up long enough for a patient to breathe. While this is an incredibly effective treatment, many find it to be difficult to sleep in. Others find that it either bothers their partners, or presents too much of an inconvenience because it requires constant cleaning, and can be difficult to travel with. Your dentist can provide alternative treatment in the form of a dental appliance. These can reposition your tongue and mouth to allow air to flow freely while sleeping.

Do you want to learn how you and those around you can finally sleep peacefully without surgery, without masks, and without pumps? Please call (910) 392-6060 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry in Wilmington, NC today.