Snoring

About 45% of all adults snore at least occasionally and 25% are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is much more common in males than females and is more common in those who are overweight than those who are not. Snoring can be more than just an annoyance to those around you. It can lead to sleep apnea and serious medical problems. Patients sometimes have severe problems but do not fit the typical pattern.

Simply put, snoring is caused by a partially obstructed airway. When you're asleep, the soft tissue and muscles in your mouth and throat become relaxed; this causes your airway to become smaller. If your airway becomes small enough, your uvula and small palate begin to vibrate as you inhale and exhale. It is these vibrations that cause the sound of snoring.

Why Do I Snore?

People who snore may suffer from any of the following:

  • Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat. When muscles are too relaxed, either from alcohol or drugs that cause you to be sleepy, the tongue falls backward into the airway or the throat muscles draw in from the sides into the airway.
  • Excessive bulkiness of throat tissue. Overweight people have bulky neck tissue, also. Cysts and tumors can cause extra bulk, and children with large tonsils or adenoids will have extra bulk.
  • Long soft palate or uvula. These will narrow the opening from the nose into the throat. A long uvula will make the vibrating noise described above even worse.
  • Obstructed nasal airways. A stuffy nose requires extra effort to pull air through it. This creates a vacuum in the throat and pulls together the floppy tissues of the throat. With some people, snoring will only occur during hay fever or with a cold.
  • Deviated septum. Any deformities of the nose or nasal septum may cause snoring.
  • Neuromuscular dental disorders

Is Snoring a Serious Problem?

Snoring can be a very serious problem because when people are deprived of sleep, their body and mind are both affected. It has been estimated that snorers have three times as many motor vehicle accidents as non-snorers. Snoring can be a strong indicator of another condition, known as sleep apnea. Snoring is also serious because it affects your partner, also. A Mayo Clinic sleep study estimated that snorers cause their partners to lose about an hour of sleep every night. This constant disruption of sleep cycles can take a toll on you and your partner. Even if your snoring is not an indication that you have sleep apnea, it is still serious because it affects you and your partner's motor skills and reaction time. Many couples are spending thousands of dollars building snoring rooms in their homes.

Can Snoring Be Cured?

At the current time, there are approximately 300 devices registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as cures for snoring. Obviously, not all of these work. Some of the anti-snoring devices on the market are so odd that the only reason they may decrease snoring is because they keep you awake!

In order to successfully evaluate and treat your snoring problem, you must be evaluated to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea.

The adverse medical effects of snoring and its association with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) have only recently become recognized. Some of the treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include behavior modification, sleep positioning, appliance therapy, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), and Laser Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty (LAUP), and jaw adjustment techniques.

If you or a loved one is suffering from snoring and sleep apnea, you need suffer no more. Please call or email Dr. Joseph Barton today to schedule an initial sleep apnea consultation. We'll help you get a good night's sleep.

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