Many people view snoring as simply an annoyance. Either out of embarrassment or because you don’t view is as a serious problem, you may have never mentioned it to your doctor. As tempting as it is to ignore the problem, it could be caused by a serious medical condition. If your snoring is severe, you should visit a board certified otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) to evaluate your symptoms. You may be suffering from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is linked to increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and obesity.
More than Just Snoring
If your snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should have an evaluation for sleep apnea right away.
- If your snoring is loud enough to wake you or your bed partner.
- If you feel short of breath when you wake up or your bed partner notices cessation in breathing.
- If you have headaches in the morning.
- If you do not wake up feeling refreshed after a full night of sleep (7-9 hours). The rest that those with untreated sleep apnea experience is non-restorative, so they often wake up tired.
- If you have trouble losing weight. Sleep is an important component to weight loss. If you are having trouble keeping off the pounds, it could be due to sleep apnea.
- If you are irritable or depressed.
The reasons for sleep apnea vary from person to person. By treating the root cause, you’ll be able to breathe easier, day or night.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most common option for sleep apnea treatment. Unfortunately, many people who are prescribed this treatment are non-compliant. Bulky equipment and masks are uncomfortable for some, and patients often end up going without. This is extremely dangerous and not necessary with all of the technology available today.
Another non-invasive sleep apnea and snoring treatment is the oral appliance. This custom device is worn in the mouth and prevents the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat during sleep. The oral appliances can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments.
There are also quite a few minimally-invasive procedures that offer long term and permanent relief for sleep apnea sufferers.
Balloon sinuplasty surgery and the Pillar® Procedure are just two of the in-office procedures that can help relieve your snoring and help you wake up feeling refreshed. Two outpatient treatments that can help relieve snoring are Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) and Septoplasty. Both of these procedures are minimally invasive and involve minimal down times.
Talking with Your Doctor
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone with sleep apnea snores. The only way to be diagnosed with sleep apnea is through a sleep study. Tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, during the day and nighttime hours. Living with sleep apnea is not only unnecessary, it can be dangerous.
The board certified otolaryngologists at eos sleep are experts in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. They can help you determine the cause of your snoring and will partner with you to develop a customized treatment plan.
Start by taking our snore quiz. It will help you to gauge the severity of your snoring. When you are ready, make an appointment to see one of our doctors by completing our secure web form. Snoring is not something that you have to live with. Get started on your journey towards restful sleep today.