Snoring is caused by the flow of air being restricted by the structures in your nose and mouth. This usually is caused by a blockage (obstruction) or narrowing in the nose, mouth, or throat (airway). Snoring can sometimes be a sign of sleep apnea, which can cause serious sleep disturbance and serious long term health issues. Snoring can be evaluated by an ENT specialist which can reveal if the snoring is caused by nasal allergy, infection, nasal obstruction, or enlargement of tonsils and adenoids.
Symptoms and Signs
Many times, snoring occurs in the presence of other signs and symptoms. These are indicators that there could be an underlying health condition that should be treated. Some symptoms and signs to look for include:
- Frequent sore throats
- Nasal drainage and congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes and sneezing
- Frequent fatigue and drowsiness
- Nose Bleeds
- Mouth breathing
Causes and Concerns
There are many causes of snoring, and most are treatable. One main cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious medical condition. What happens during the course of the night is the person will experience anywhere from 30 to 300 pauses lasting approximately 10 seconds. This means the person stops breathing for about 10 seconds several times a night. The pauses are caused by the airway collapse and narrowing. This makes the heart have to work harder because the pauses decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood. If the obstructive sleep apnea continues without treatment, it puts you at a higher risk for developing several health problems including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Other causes of snoring include:
- Sinus infection
- Deviated septum
- Thick throat tissue
- Too much soft tissue in the neck
- Tonsils and adenoids (primarily children)
Solutions and Options
UNFORTUNATELY THERE ARE VERY FEW RELIABLE treatment options available for people who snore. If the person is obese, then weight loss can cure the problem. IN OFFICE SURGICAL PROCEDURES TO OPEN THE NASAL PASSAGES OR TO SHAVE AWAY OR STIFFEN THE TISSUES OF THE ROOF OF THE MOUTH (SOFT PALATE AND UVULA) MAY BE HELPFUL IF YOUR ANATOMY IS FAVORABLE. DR. STARK HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN PERFORMING THESE TYPES OF PROCEDURES SINCE 1990 AND CAN HONESTLY TELL YOU IF YOU MAY BENEFIT.
CPAP is the most common treatment, and it is used by hundreds of people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP device involves a mask that is worn over the nose and mouth that is connected to a machine that delivers a positive amount of pressure. This is done to keep the airway open. If you or someone you love has sleep apnea, call our office for an appointment with Dr. Stark.
Some homecare tips for those who snore:
- Try to sleep on your side not your back.
- Elevate your head with a few extra pillows.
- Get into a regular sleep routine (go to bed and rise at the same time).
- Eat healthy food, exercise, quit smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption.
- Avoid using sleeping aids or sedatives.
Snoring does not have to be an issue in your life. There are plenty of solutions and options to help you stop snoring. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms and signs associated with snoring, consider an evaluation at our office.