The holiday season is a time of joy and visits with friends and family. Many will be hosting overnight guests, and for homes with snorers, this can dampen the festive spirit. If you or someone you love snores, there is no better time to discover a solution.
The Effects of Snoring
Snoring is not only an annoyance for bed partners and guests it’s also a leading cause of sleep deprivation for the snorer. Constant waking by a spouse and even waking oneself up is a real problem. Lack of sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, which, in turn, leads to decreased productivity, crankiness and an increased likeliness of accidents.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is actually very common and can affect anyone. When snoring becomes a regular occurrence, it could be the indicator of a more serious health concern.
When it comes to snoring, there are some risk factors. Men are more likely to snore than women. As age and weight increases, so does the risk of snoring. Illnesses like the common cold or sinus infections can also lead to snoring. Anytime the flow of air through the mouth and nose is obstructed, snoring could be the end result. Some common reasons for obstruction are:
- Nasal obstructions due to allergies, nasal polyps or a deviated septum
- Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue from relaxation due to deep sleep, alcohol consumption, certain sleeping pills or the normal aging process
- Throat tissue that is increased by being overweight, large tonsils or adenoids
- A long soft palate or uvula which blocks the airway
One of the more serious conditions associated with snoring is obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping. These pauses can span from a few seconds to minutes. When normal breathing resumes it is generally accompanied by a loud snorting or choking sound.
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep condition and it is responsible for more than disrupted sleep. Serious health concerns such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, increased risk of accidents and type 2 diabetes are all closely associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
Doctors cannot detect sleep apnea during a routine office visit. Unless you tell a health practitioner about your snoring, it is not a common topic of discussion. For this reason, sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Snoring, and other signs of sleep apnea are not always noticed by the sufferer, so a household member or bed partner is usually the first to notice the signs of sleep apnea. The condition is normally diagnosed after an at home or in-clinic sleep study. Board certified otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) specializes in disorders of the nose and throat and is best equipped to evaluate you for sleep apnea.
Treatments for Snoring
Depending on the reason for your snoring, there are multiple treatment options available. Many sleep apnea sufferers rely on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat their condition. This non-invasive procedure relies on a machine which pumps pressurized air into the nose and/or mouth, keeping the airway open during sleep. This virtually eliminates snoring and the symptoms of sleep apnea for many patients; however, some patients find the restrictiveness of a mask, tubing and machine difficult/uncomfortable to use.
Advances in medical technology have led to far more advanced options, which are now available for snorers and those with obstructive sleep apnea. Many minimally-invasive procedures can be completed fairly quickly, in an office setting and provide long-lasting relief for snorers. Some of these options include:
- Oral Appliances
- Balloon Sinuplasty
- Palate Coblation®
- The Pillar® Procedure
- Coblation® Turbinate Reduction
- Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty
- Radiofrequency Ablation of the Tongue
No matter the reason for your snoring, there is no reason to continue living with it. Start on the path to a snore-free holiday by taking our Snore Quiz to gauge the severity of your snoring. When you are ready, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified otolaryngologists. Make snoring a problem of holidays past and look forward to a snore-free future.
Let us help you get a good night’s rest and rediscover what waking up refreshed feels like. At eos sleep, we offer effective and minimally-invasive treatments beyond the CPAP mask. It may be as simple as a 30 minute in-office procedure.
Give a gift this year that keeps on giving; quiet nights and better health.