An estimated 57% of men and 40% of women snore. Snoring is caused when loose tissues at the back of the throat vibrate during sleep. Our bodies relax during sleep, but some of the muscles of the throat become so lax, they vibrate as air passes by, causing a noisy sound. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including sleep apnea.
Primary snoring is common, but without a proper diagnosis, you might be putting yourself in harm’s way. Wade Han, MD, FACS, and Elvira Lingvi De Armas, Au.D lead our warm and professional team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center, where we can properly diagnose and treat snoring, and any conditions that may come with it. In this post, we’ll take a look at why you may be snoring, the associated risks, and what you can do about it.
Why am I snoring?
Snoring can be caused by several things:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being overweight, having large tonsils, or any obstructive throat tissue
- Using alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping on your back
- A deviated septum
- A long soft palate or uvula, the tissue hanging in the back of your mouth
- Chronic congestion
- Recessed jaw
Though there are clearly a number of different things that can cause snoring, it’s also important to understand how snoring can affect you. Snoring may result in less-restful sleep, daytime tiredness, dry mouth in the morning, and weight gain. This is concerning for anyone, but people with a family history of diabetes should be especially careful.
Is snoring dangerous?
Snoring isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it certainly can be. One of the many symptoms of sleep apnea is loud snoring that happens at least several times per week, and waking in the middle of the night, gasping for air. Conversely, pregnancy can cause some women to snore.
Dr. Han’s biggest concern with snoring is that you could be experiencing sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a disease that prevents you from getting a full night of restful sleep. With OSA, you’re at elevated risk of developing diabetes and hypertension. If you’re already living with either condition, OSA can, and often does, make it worse.
What do I do about my snoring?
If you snore more than three nights per week, or suffer from morning headaches, lack of focus, or grinding your teeth, you should call Dr. Han as soon as possible. Snoring doesn’t have to be permanent. Over the years, several treatments have developed to treat snoring, and one of snoring’s associated conditions: sleep apnea.
The threat of sleep apnea is more than enough reason to talk to Dr. Han about your snoring. Once Dr. Han has gone over your concerns, medical history, lifestyle, and any medicine or supplements you’re taking, he comes up with a treatment plan for you. Dr. Han will start with conservative treatments, like dietary and other lifestyle changes.
If smaller changes don’t help you get a full night of quality sleep, Dr. Han will recommend bi-level airway pressure or auto servo-ventilation devices, which help your breathing stay normal and consistent. If these devices still don’t give you relief from your symptoms, Dr. Han may consider more invasive procedures to remove excess tissue from your throat.
It’s important to talk to Dr. Han about snoring, even if it doesn’t wake you up. And if it does, there are ways to help you and your partner sleep more peacefully, giving you more energy to do everything you want to do. Call us today at either of our Florida offices for a consultation or book an appointment with us online.