Loud snoring has always posed a problem for your personal and social life, but now the experts know it also may be a key symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. At South Coast Ear, Nose and Throat, Avrum Kaufman, DO, has helped many patients overcome their snoring and their sleep apnea. If someone complains about your loud snoring, take it seriously, because untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. Schedule an appointment by calling one of the offices in Ladera Ranch or Irvine, California, or use the online booking feature.
Snoring occurs when the air you inhale can’t move freely through your nose and throat. As the air pushes past soft tissues, they begin to vibrate, causing the sound of snoring. Two of the top causes of snoring include:
Nasal congestion from sinusitis or a cold, and structural problems such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, can partially block the flow of air and cause snoring.
When you sleep, soft tissues near the airway at the back of your throat relax and fall toward the opening. Sometimes they partially cover the airway, which causes snoring. If the tissues completely block the airway, you briefly stop breathing, which is a condition called sleep apnea.
OSA is diagnosed when your breathing stops five times or more every hour while you sleep. You have a mild case of OSA when you stop breathing 5-15 times per hour. Patients with severe OSA stop breathing 30 times or more every hour.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are the top cause of OSA in children. For adults, the airway is more likely to be blocked by their tongue and other issues. Nasal obstruction also leads to OSA and being overweight significantly increases your risk.
You can snore and not have sleep apnea. However, loud snoring is the top symptom. Other common symptoms include daytime fatigue, behavioral problems in children, and waking up with a headache. The constant disruption in your sleep cycle may lead to problems with memory or concentration and irritability.
OSA is diagnosed with a sleep study that measures your breathing and oxygen levels while you sleep. The first line of treatment for children is often a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
For adults, treatment depends on the severity of the apnea. The two primary treatment options are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a customized oral appliance, both of which stop your snoring and your OSA.
While oral appliances can stop snoring, you can get long-term relief by treating snoring with office procedures that stiffen the soft tissues and prevent them from vibrating. Dr. Kaufman performs soft palate radiofrequency ablation. This procedure uses gentle heat from radiofrequency energy to shrink excess soft tissues in the upper airway.
At the least, snoring is embarrassing, and it interrupts the sleep of everyone nearby. At its worst, it’s a sign of OSA. To get expert help for snoring, call South Coast Ear, Nose and Throat or schedule an appointment online.