While enjoying the July 4th fireworks last week, I overheard a young girl observe:
“That sounds like Grandpa’s snoring when he lies on the couch after our Thanksgiving meal!”
This comment certainly raised a lot of laughter, but snoring is actually no laughing matter.
As the average weight of Americans continues to rise, and childhood obesity reaches crisis levels, snoring which is often a sign of a more serious condition, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, will have to be taken very seriously. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be responsible for problems like high blood pressure, stroke, atherosclerosis, diabetes, ADHD, and personality changes associated with anxiety and depression. OSA affects the quality of sleep and causes sufferers to feel tired and unproductive throughout the day.
Snoring is often the first sign of obstructions in the airway during sleep. The obstructions can be in the nose, oral cavity and/or in the pharynx (throat). As airflow is restricted, turbulence occurs and causes snoring. With time, snoring actually damages the airway’s soft tissues and the nerve endings that maintain muscle tone. As muscles become weak and/or damaged it leads to more snoring and more obstruction, resulting in a restless night’s sleep and daytime exhaustion.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for Sleep Apnea today. Here is a list of the most effective treatments that I use for my patients, depending on the severity of their symptoms.
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Weight Loss: Maybe not the easiest solution, but certainly worth the effort
- Oral appliances such as bite plates (see examples here)
- A face mask worn during sleep that provides oxygen flow (called CPAP)
- Surgery: Depending on the location of the airway obstruction surgery may be considered to address the nasal passages, the size or shape of the soft palate, uvula and pharynx walls and or the position of the lower jaw
Snoring should not be taken lightly as it may be the first sign of a more serious problem—especially if the snoring reaches fireworks volume! If you are feeling unfocused and tired during the day, OSA may be the cause.
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Dr. Donald Tanenbaum has been practicing in New York City and Long Island for over 20 years. He is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat Sleep Apnea, facial pain, TMJ and TMD problems, muscle pain disorders, nerve pain disorders, tension headaches, and snoring. Learn more here