What Causes Snoring?
The noise you hear when someone is snoring is caused by the obstruction/restriction of air flow through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. The airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula is the collapsible part of the airway. This restricted air movement collapses and vibrates while you are breathing during sleep. Snoring is not only an annoyance, it can cause marital issues, sleep deprivation, and can be associated with heart disease and hypertension.
Over 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders and over half of those have obstructive sleep apnea, which snoring can be a sign of. The vast majority of these cases go undiagnosed. An otolaryngologist can help you determine where the airflow may be restricted that is causing your snoring and help you with a solution for this embarrassing, loud, and potentially dangerous problem.
Common causes for snoring include but not limited to the following:
- Large soft palate or uvula
- Deviated septum
- Sinus issues
- Large tonsils
- Nasal Polyps
- Turbinate swelling
- Large tongue
- Abnormal lower jaw position
What is Sleep Apnea?
Snoring can also be a sign of a serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is diagnosed by multiple instances of paused breathing that are greater than 10 seconds because of the collapse of the airway. This will disrupt the normal sleep cycle and cause a smaller amount of oxygen in the blood which can cause your heart to work harder. This is why many people with OSA feel poorly rested and sleep deprived. People with sleep apnea may have 30 to 300 episodes in one evening. Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, and hypertension as well as many other medical conditions.
Because snorers and sleep apnea sufferers may sleep lighter and the airflow is restricted, they can wake up feeling tired and sleep deprived. They may feel sleepy throughout the day. This can impact their performance on the job and can impact their personal relationships due to them being more irritable.
How can we help treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Snoring and sleep apnea can be treated after diagnosis through multiple treatment options:
- Minimally invasive procedures such as:
- Inferior Turbinate Reduction
- Treatment of Chronic Sinusitis/congestion
- Polyp removal
- Endoscopic septoplasty
- Soft palate tightening
- Mandibular Advancement Splints (Oral Appliance)
- CPAP therapy (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
Sleep Apnea test at home:
At Southern ENT Specialists, we provide a comfortable, effective way to diagnose sleep apnea. With a small, easy to use unit, a sleep test can be performed over 1-2 nights in the comfort of your own home. This will allow for a more comfortable and convenient experience for our patients. Shortly after completion and return of the unit, the data is read and treatment options can be implemented. Let us help evaluate your sleep issues and provide options customized to your individual needs.