Almost 50 percent of American adults snore and 25 percent are problem snorers. If you awake in the morning feeling tired or exhausted, if you experience daytime drowsiness, or if your snoring is proving disruptive to family life, you have reason enough for concern. Studies have shown that problem snoring can prove symptomatic of a more serious medical condition. Left untreated, problem snoring significantly increases the risk of many life-threatening medical conditions and social problems including:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure in 50-70% of sufferers
- Heart attacks: 25% increased risk
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Heart failure
- Strokes: 2-3 times increased risk
Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight persons, and it usually grows worse with age. Snoring is an indication of obstructed breathing. Therefore it should not be taken lightly. An otolaryngologist can help you to determine where the encumbrance may be and offer solutions for this noisy, health threatening, and often embarrassing behavior.
Children also suffer the effects of snoring. In children, snoring may be a sign of problems with the tonsils and adenoids.
A chronically snoring child should be examined by an otolaryngologist, as a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be required to return the child to full health.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) witch disrupts breathing and poses a risk to life. Serious episodes of OSA last more than ten seconds each and occur more than seven times per hour. OSA patients may experience 30 to 300 such events per night. These episodes can reduce blood oxygen levels, causing the heart to pump harder.
The immediate effect of OSA is that the snorer must sleep lightly and keep their muscles tense in order to keep airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get a good rest, they may be sleepy during the day, which impairs job performance and makes them a hazardous driver or equipment operator. After many years, OSA sufferers may incur elevated blood pressure and heart enlargement.
Do I have a Sleep Disorder?
Try conducting a sleep disorder quiz on yourself.
Take a look at the list below, and see how many of
the statements apply to you:
- I snore.
- I wake up tired.
- I wake up gasping.
- I wake up with a sore throat.
- I frequently wake up to use the bathroom.
- It is hard for me to stay awake while driving.
- I have fallen asleep while laughing or crying.
- I wake up with pain and numbness in my legs.
- I have difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.
- I have been told that I stop breathing while I sleep.
If two or more of the statements above apply to you, this may indicate a serious sleep disorder and you should consult a physician today for treatment.
Treatment for Sleep Disorders
Problem snorers, those who snore in any position or are disruptive to the family, should seek medical advice to ensure that sleep apnea is not a problem. The otolaryngology specialists at Sound Health Services will provide a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate and neck. A sleep study in a laboratory environment may be necessary to determine how serious the snoring is and what effects it has on the snorer’s health.
Treatment depends on the diagnosis. An examination and testing will reveal if the snoring is caused by nasal allergy, infection, deformity, or tonsils and adenoids. Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea may respond to various treatments now offered by the otolaryngology specialists at Sound Health Services.
For more information on sleep disorders or to schedule an appointment with one of our Otolaryngology Specialists, please call us at (314) 332-1377.
The information on this site is provided by Sound Health Services and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck, Inc. (AAO-HNS), and is for educational purposes only.