Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring can be a signal that something is seriously
wrong with your breathing during sleep. Snoring is
a sign that air is not freely flowing through the
throat passageway. The sound of snoring comes from
efforts to force air through the narrowed passage.
For most people, loud disruptive snoring is merely
a social problem that may strain relationships. Yet
for many adults, loud habitual snoring is the first
indication of a potentially life threatening disorder-
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Apnea is the pausing
of airflow for more than 10 seconds while an individual
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Loud snoring, with episodes of pauses and gasps during
which the snorer struggles unsuccessfully to breathe,
is a prominent symptom of OSA. The muscles of the
soft palate relax and sag, obstruct the airway and
cause the vibration and rattling sounds of snoring.
Snoring is usually present but not always OSA patients.
Sleep apnea may be present in children who are overweight
and those who have enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
People with sleep apnea don't get enough oxygen
and their sleep is poor.
Sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, chronic
fatigue, morning headache, irritability, impaired
memory and judgment, mood disturbance, and decreased
libido. There is evidence that it can trigger hypertension,
cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
For those with disruptive snoring and mild sleep
apnea, losing weight, avoiding alcohol and heavy meals
within two hours of bedtime, avoiding sedative use,
and sleeping on one's side are practical interventions
that can improve or even cure snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep study or polysomnography is needed to access
the degree of severity in patients symptoms of OSA
To treat severe sleep apnea, Continuous Positive
Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a highly effective therapy.
This is a light mask, worn over the nose during sleep,
which forces air through the nose to keep the airway
open. Some snoring and sleep apnea patients are helped
by oral appliances that open the airway by bringing
the jaw, tongue and soft palate forward.
Surgical intervention may be a viable alternative
for particular patients. Surgery can be a permanent
way to control this condition.