Millions of Americans and their sleep partners are affected by snoring. This can be an isolated problem or a symptom of more severe sleep disturbances such as obstructive sleep apnea. A thorough evaluation is needed to identify the sleep disorder and provide the best treatment options.
What Causes Snoring?
Nearly everybody snores on occasion, but for an estimated 25 percent of the population, snoring is a habitual condition that occurs nightly. You may think of it as a nuisance, but snoring has serious consequences and can lead to stress in your relationship, negatively impact job performance, affect your memory and concentration, and lead to serious health complications.
Snoring is the result of obstructed airflow in the nose and mouth.
Airflow obstructions can occur due to allergies, nasal deformities, collapsed throat and tongue muscle, excess throat tissue, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, and an unusually long soft palate or uvula. It may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Those who are male, overweight, smoke, and consume alcohol before bedtime are most at risk for habitual snoring.
Is Snoring Treatable?
Snoring doesn’t have to rob you of a good night’s sleep forever. There are several procedures (Pillar implants, LAUP, and UPPP) and numerous sleep aids to assist in the reduction of snoring. Which method works best depends on the cause of your snoring.
Lifestyle modifications can make a big difference. If you are a back sleeper, switch to your side – your throat muscles won’t be as prone to relaxing. Begin an exercise program if you’re overweight. Quit smoking, and refrain from alcohol in the evening hours. Nasal strips can help open up your airway passages and promote easier breathing. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) can help those suffering from sleep apnea. A number of surgical procedures are available for opening up the airways and reducing (or eliminating) snoring.