Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Did you know that snoring can be a warning sign of a serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. It can affect your daytime performance, your job, and your health. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that reduces or even stops your snoring.
Why do we snore?
It is estimated that 45% of normal adults snore occasionally, but 25% are habitual snorers. Heavy snoring is more common in males and overweight persons, and the problem usually grows worse with age.
Snoring is not simply a bad habit that a person can be trained to give up, but is caused by a partial obstruction of the airway in the back of the throat and nose. The characteristic rattling sound is the vibration of the soft palate and uvula or other structures in the upper airway. This is the result of the airway being constricted by or.
- Poor muscle tone in the soft palate. This may worsen when muscles are relaxed by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, or by smoking.
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
- A large uvula.
- Blocked nasal air passages, common with a cold or allergies.
- Obstructed nasal airways, caused by polyps, cysts, or a deviated septum.
- Excessive weight, causing tissues in the neck to be bulky and flaccid.
- Hypothyroidism and other glandular disorders.
- Under development of the lower jaw bone.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Snoring can be irritating, problematic, and life threatening. When you snore, you may merely annoy those in the same room depriving them of sleep. You may be awakened by your own snoring pattern, interrupting your sleep cycle and causing fatigue. Or you may experience the problem in its most exaggerated form, known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea affects 1 in 25 adult males and 1 in 50 adult females. First described in 1965, it owes its name to a Greek word, apnea, meaning "want of breath." Obstructive sleep apnea is an unsuccessful attempt to breathe through the nose and mouth, caused by obstruction which may involve the soft palate, uvula, nose, tonsils, adenoids, or base of the tongue.
Obstructive sleep apnea can deprive the snorer of oxygen. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you are probably also being deprived of the deep sleep stages you need. You may stay sleepy much of the day, and may even fall asleep while driving, or on the job. Research has also associated the condition with high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Since you cannot determine whether sleep apnea is a problem, Your doctor may recommend a sleep test. The solution may be as simple as managing a nasal allergy or infection, or surgically reshaping the soft palate. Other surgical treatments may include an anterior mandibular (lower jaw) osteotomy to help advance the base of the tongue, which is often the site of the obstruction. Orthognathic surgery via maxillary (upper jaw) and/or mandibular (lower jaw) advancement also have a high degree of success in refractory cases.
Non-surgical treatment modalities are most commonly attempted first. Dental appliances are sometimes utilized. The mainstay of treatment is the use of breathing machines (CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure) which apply small amounts of air pressure to the airway to hold it open during sleep. This treatment is prescribed by your physician. Surgery is usually recommended for patients who are intolerant or refractory to the CPAP. Following the directions below may also help alleviate your symptoms.
What you can do to decrease snoring
Mild or occasional snorers may find relief with the aid of a simple remedy or lifestyle change:
Avoid heavy meals within 5 hours of going to bed.
Avoid alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of bedtime.
Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or antihistamines before going to bed.
Sleep on your side rather than on your back.
Raise the head of the bed.
Try weight loss and muscle toning.
Snorers should receive a thorough examination of the nose, throat, mouth and jaw to determine the best way to treat it.
Your doctor is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and can help you assess the severity of your condition. Depending on your diagnosis, the procedure may be covered by your insurance. Our staff and your insurance company can give you more details.
The presence of laser technology right in the office is your assurance that our doctors are dedicated to providing you with the most advanced care available. All surgery is performed under proper anesthesia. Your doctor has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia to make procedures more comfortable. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and staff experienced in anesthesia techniques.
Kentucky Sleep Society
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