Snoring may be more than just a minor annoyance. In fact, in some cases, snoring can be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Frequent snoring is a common reason patients visit Dr. Michael Labanowski's at Southern Sleep Clinics. Snoring, along with sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and excessive sleepiness, interfere with sleep and can cause other issues.
Common causes of snoring
It's hard not to snore if you have a cold, the flu or sinusitis. When your nasal passages and sinuses are inflamed and swollen, you're bound to produce a few sound effects when you sleep. Fortunately, as you get better, the snoring usually stops.
Snoring can also occur if you have an obstruction that affects the flow of air through your nose, like a polyp, bone spur or deviated septum. Being overweight increases your risk of snoring, as does having allergies or smoking. Drinking alcoholic beverages can also cause snoring. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat and mouth, which may trigger snoring.
Your snoring could be related to sleep apnea, particularly if you snore loudly. The sleep disorder causes you to stop breathing for seconds at a time and may happen hundreds of times throughout the night. Although your body prompts you to start breathing again in a matter of seconds, the pauses leave you feeling sleepy during the day and increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, stroke and other health issues.
Sleep apnea can occur if your throat muscles relax and narrow while you sleep or your tongue falls against your throat. The disruption in airflow can trigger loud snoring that can be heard throughout your home. Sleep apnea may also be related to a problem with the signals that travel from the brain to the muscles used when you breathe.
Treatments for snoring
Making a few changes in your life, such as drinking less, losing weight or taking medications for allergies, can be helpful in some cases. If your snoring is related to a nasal obstruction, minimally invasive surgery to remove the obstruction may be helpful.
If it's not clear why you snore, Dr. Labanowski may recommend a sleep study. The overnight test records your breathing, heart rate, brain waves, blood and oxygen levels, and arm and leg movements.
Should your snoring be related to sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be helpful. A continuous flow of air delivered through a small mask keeps your airway open when you use a CPAP machine. Other types of airway pressure machines are also available, as are oral appliances that reposition your jaw while you sleep. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove extra tissue, stiffen the soft palate or stimulate the nerve that controls tongue movement.
When snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome or excessive sleepiness affect your sleep or your health, Dr. Labanowski offers a variety of helpful options to treat your condition or disorder. Call our Dothan, AL location today!