Whether you are the snorer, or your snoring partner is keeping you awake at night, you know it disrupts your sleep and can be quite annoying. Some people think snoring is a result of being in a deep sleep, but it can actually be indicative of a very serious health problem.
This problem is, sleep apnea. In this condition, the person stops breathing momentarily and wakes up abruptly in order to catch their breath. This can be a detrimental condition to live with because it disrupts your sleep and increases the risk of other health issues. The main symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, that’s why if you are a snorer, it’s imperative to go for a sleep test.
Stanley Yung Lui, sleep surgeon at Stanford, explained, “Asleep patients are often unaware of breathing interruptions that have serious health risks. Snoring is a warning sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — but not every snorer has sleep apnea, and not everyone with sleep apnea snores. Snoring and OSA can lead to serious health risks such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure, neurocognitive impairment, and accidents due to sleepiness.”
Usually performed in a lab, a polysomnography tracks sleep disturbances or breathing interruptions in sleeping patients.
Although sleep apnea can lead to numerous health problems, the good news is, there is a very effective treatment for this condition. The most common mode of treatment for sleep apnea is known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device.
“A patient wears a nasal, oral, or full-face mask that delivers positive air pressure to the upper airway during sleep. These stents open the airway, and prevent snoring and airway collapse. An oral appliance may be recommended for patients with snoring and mild OSA, when CPAP is not well tolerated. Nearly 40 percent of American patients are unable to use CPAP adequately. Worn like a night guard, the oral appliance pushes the lower jaw forward and stabilizes the airway. Surgical solutions for snoring and OSA can also be highly effective. Contemporary treatment planning is patient specific with consideration of upper airway anatomy, disease severity, and patient preference,” Lui explained.
Some patients may need a combination of therapies and treatments, including lifestyle changes, in order to get their snoring and sleep apnea under control. This includes losing excess weight, changing their diet, and lowering their blood pressure as all of these factors contribute to sleep apnea.
As you can see, snoring can be a sign of a serious health problem, but it can also be well managed. The first step is to have yourself tested so that your doctor can recommend the best mode of treatment for you.