Snoring and Sleep Apnea
People who snore loudly are often the target of bad jokes and middle of the night elbow thrusts; but snoring is no laughing matter. While loud disruptive snoring is at best a social problem that may strain relationships, for many men, women and even children, loud habitual snoring may signal a potentially life threatening disorder: obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
Snoring Is Not Necessarily Sleep Apnea
It is important to distinguish between snoring and OSA. Many people snore. It's estimated that approximately 30% to 50% of the US population snore at one time or another, some significantly. Everyone has heard stories of men and women whose snoring can be heard rooms away from where they are sleeping. Snoring of this magnitude can cause several problems, including marital discord, sleep disturbances and waking episodes sometimes caused by one's own snoring. But, snoring does not always equal OSA; sometimes it is only a social inconvenience. Still, even a social inconvenience can require treatment, and there are several options available to chronic snorers.
Some non-medical treatments that may alleviate snoring include:
Weight loss — as little as 10 pounds may be enough to make a difference.
Change of sleeping position — Because you tend to snore more when sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side may be helpful.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals — especially within two hours of bedtime.
Avoid sedatives — which can relax your throat muscles and increase the tendency for airway obstruction related to snoring.
Depending on your severity of snoring and/or sleep apnea, many times requiring a sleep study, or polysomnography, other medical options may prove beneficial such as oral appliances, CPAP, soft tissue reduction surgery or corrective jaw surgery.
Please call our office for an evaluation