Sleep Apnea Snoring Education
How Common Is Snoring?
One out of every four people is a habitual snorer. The problem is more frequent in males and the overweight, and worsens with age.
What Are The Existing Treatments For Snoring?
Snoring ‘cures’ vary widely, ranging from sewing a tennis ball into a snorer’s pajama back to electric shock mechanisms that give the snorer an unpleasant jolt. Most of these remedies and devices are based upon some sort of sleep behavior modification with the presumption that a person can be trained or conditioned not to snore. Unfortunately, the snorer has no control over snoring whatsoever, and if these devices do work, it is probably because they keep the snorer awake. Some of the more modern treatments are detailed under our Sleep Apnea & Snoring Services page.
What Causes Snoring?
Modern medical science has discovered that snoring is often related to physical obstructive breathing during sleep. This physical obstruction occurs when the muscles of the palate, the uvula. and sometimes the tonsils relax during deep sleep, and act as vibrating noise-makers when the air of breathing moves across them. Excessive bulkiness of tissue in the back of the throat as it narrows into the airway can also contribute to snoring, as can a long palate and/or uvula.
Should I Worry If I Snore?
Socially, snoring is disruptive to family life, causing other family members sleepless nights and often resentfulness. Snorers become unwelcome roommates on vacations or business trips. Also, snoring actually disturbs the sleeping patterns of the snorer, making restful sleep difficult. Finally, snoring can be an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea—a serious medical problem.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed when loud snoring is interrupted by episodes of completely obstructed breathing. This condition can be serious and sometimes fatal if these episodes last over ten seconds and occur more than seven times an hour.
The cumulative effect of these obstructed breathing episodes is reduced blood oxygen levels to the brain, forcing the snorer to stay in a lighter sleep stage so that the breathing passage muscles are kept tighter. This prevents the snorer from obtaining the rest benefit achieved only during deep sleep, and can lead to a tendency to fall asleep during daytime hours— on the job, or worse, at the wheel of a car.
If you are having problems with sleep and/or snoring, and would like an initial consultation with our doctors, please fill out this Sleep Disorders Patient Questionnaire, prior to visiting our offices.
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