Approximately 45% of normal adults snore occasionally, and 20% are habitual snorers. This can cause health and quality of life issues for both the affected individual and their partners. It occurs more commonly in men, and it occurs more commonly as people age. It happens when there is some restriction in the free flow of air through the back of the nose and throat. This can occur because of poor muscle tone, excessive bulging of tissue, and obstruction of nasal airways.
While snoring can be annoying, sleep apnea can cause similar symptoms; yet in addition, it can lead to poor job performance, excessive daytime sleepiness, and danger in operating hazardous equipment and motor vehicles. Sleep apnea has been associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
A physical examination as well as a sleep study may be necessary to evaluate these concerns. Treatment options include the use of a mask-like device during sleep to increase the air pressure in the upper part of the throat and aid in keeping it open. Other options include surgery to reduce the bulk of the palate and tonsils, as well as procedures to open the nasal airway such as a septoplasty or turbinate reduction. Other procedures can reduce the bulk of the tongue base or realign the position of the tongue base to insure a more open airway. Oral appliances can be crafted by an oral surgeon or dentist and can be used at night to reposition the jaw and tongue without surgery. Finally. lifestyle changes to increase muscle tone and aid in weight loss have been proven to be effective as well.
If you suffer from sleep apnea or a related condition that keeps you or your partner from getting a good night’s rest, please call your doctor or contact us for a consultation.