Sleep is an essential facet of our lives. Once we get tired enough, we need to rest to feel refreshed in the morning. But for many, that comes with snoring, which can make life for a significant other a bit more difficult at night.
Snoring is a disorder that affects 40 million people in the U.S alone. Many of us deal with it over the course of our lives. For others, it simply comes and goes.
Snoring can also be a symptom of an underlying condition. To find out why you snore, it makes sense to consult a skilled expert. Residents of the Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida areas dealing with snoring problems can find help from Drs. Wade Han, Elvira Livigni-De Armas and the staff at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center.
For now, let’s look at the health risks of snoring by exploring why it happens, what conditions can cause it, and what help is available to manage it.
Reasons why we snore
When you sleep, the muscles in your mouth (the soft palate, tongue, and throat) relax. Snoring is the result of air having to pass through relaxed tissue in your throat, which creates vibrations leading to the various unpleasant noises that come with the disorder.
Snoring can be affected by the position you sleep in, sleep deprivation, nasal problems, alcohol consumption, and structural issues inside your mouth and throat (such as a thick, soft palate or elongated uvula).
Underlying conditions associated with snoring
While harmless in many cases, snoring can also be connected to a number of other conditions, including:
Snoring is common symptom for many with this sleep disorder. Not all people who snore regularly have this illness, but those who do are also at a 40% higher risk of other problems, such as heart disease, stroke, arrhythmias, and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).
If your snoring is connected to issues with sleep deprivation, then the resulting daytime fatigue can also lead to a greater risk of injuring yourself doing normal activities like driving. This could potentially also be a risk for people traveling with you.
Morning headaches are a common phenomena for chronic snorers, and frequent headaches can create a separate set of problems during the day. Headaches can also result from sleep apnea and insomnia.
Waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom twice or more per night is called nocturia, and snoring men and women deal with this problem. Men over 55 dealing with this may also be dealing with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or benign enlarged prostate).
Being overweight means you may have extra tissue collected around your neck, making it harder to breathe while sleeping and causing you to snore. It also increases your risk of conditions like sleep apnea.
Methods of treatment
There are several ways to prevent or treat snoring. It can be managed by avoiding alcohol and sedatives shortly before bed, raising the head of your bed a few inches, sleeping on your side, maintaining a healthy weight, or using a snore-reducing pillow. In addition to these changes, other non-surgical means of managing snoring are available, like medications for cold and allergies which relieve nasal congestion, nasal strips, and oral appliances.
If surgical treatment is determined to be necessary, then it can be accomplished using laser ablation (Somnoplasty®) septoplasty, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty.
Snoring is generally not dangerous to your health but can be symptomatic of other underlying problems that should be addressed. If you’re dealing with issues with snoring, we can help. Make an appointment with Drs. Han, Livigni-De Armas, and Florida Ear, Nose, Throat, & Facial Plastic Surgery Center today to get better sleep free of snoring.