October 15, 2018
Maybe you’ve heard from your partner that your snoring is keeping them awake, or maybe your snoring is waking you up in the middle of the night. Either way, you suffer from a snoring problem that impacts every aspect of your life — from your low productivity during the day to your lack of restful sleep at night. Snoring can be caused by many factors and it’s important that you seek medical advice if you suffer from it on a regular basis. The good news is that once you identify what is causing your snoring, you can begin to treat the problem and find peaceful sleep again.
What is snoring & what causes it?
Simply put, snoring is the sound of air and throat tissues vibrating against each other as air is forced through an obstructed airway. The narrower the airway, the more vibrations and the more persistent the resulting snoring.
Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, some more serious than others. As we age, the muscles in our throat lose strength and become less taut, which causes the tissues to relax, and can lead to snoring. Various anatomical abnormalities — such as nasal obstruction, deviated septums, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, and excess throat and nasal tissue — can also cause snoring. Even certain medications, alcohol use, smoking and being overweight can play a part.
Signs of Snoring
If you frequently experience any of these symptoms, you may suffer from persistent snoring and should seek the guidance of a medical practitioner to determine its severity and appropriate treatment options.
- Restless sleep
- Morning headaches
- Breathing pauses during sleep
- Sore throat when you wake up
- Gasping and choking in the night
- Chest pain at night
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
When left untreated, snoring can progress in severity and become a sign of either upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), conditions that are characterized by a decrease or cessation in breathing during the night due to a blocked or partially blocked airway.
Symptoms of UARS
Frequently a precursor to obstructive sleep apnea, UARS is the middle point on a spectrum between benign snoring and OSA. People suffering from UARS experience a decrease in oxygen flow (breathing) due to an obstructed airway, to the extent that it interrupts sleep. Many of the symptoms of UARS overlap with those common to snoring and sleep apnea, including:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Frequent waking in the night
- Chronic insomnia
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA is on the severe end of the snoring spectrum and much like UARS, obstructive sleep apnea shares many of the common indicators of snoring. The condition is characterized by a severe blockage of the throat that causes a complete cessation in breathing, multiple times per hour during the night. Individuals with OSA are at increased risk of developing severe health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes, just to name a few.
Treatment for Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
Sleep disorders are diagnosed through a sleep study, which is administered and analyzed by a sleep physician. Once a sleep-breathing disorder has been diagnosed, treatment options are dictated by the severity of the condition, among other factors, and typically include a CPAP machine, surgery, and/or oral appliance therapy.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from a sleep-breathing disorder, such as persistent snoring, UARS, or OSA, contact Sleep Dallas today to set up a consultation.