Is Snoring Normal?
Snoring is extremely common. In fact, an estimated one out of every three adults snores at least occasionally. It is most likely to occur if you are congested or have a cold, but if you snore regularly, it might be time to take a closer look because snoring can be a sign of more serious problems.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues in the mouth and throat vibrate as the air you breathe passes through while you are sleeping. These tissues can include the uvula, tonsils, and tongue. Some people only snore when they are congested or they have a cold while others snore fairly regularly. Although snoring can be annoying, it can also be a sign of a more serious problem called sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a sleep disorder that occurs when the airway becomes completely obstructed while you sleep. Instead of the soft tissues vibrating, they collapse completely and block the airway. This prevents oxygen from reaching your brain and body. OSA puts a serious strain on your cardiovascular system, but it also affects your quality of sleep. As soon as your brain detects the reduced oxygen levels, it briefly wakes you to reopen the airway.
This can occur hundreds of times a night, preventing you from slipping into the deeper stages of sleep and keeping your body in a constant state of stress. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other potentially serious health problems.
How to Sleep Better
If you suspect that you have OSA, Dr. Radfar might recommend further testing. A physical exam, medical history, and family history can help ensure an accurate diagnosis, but you will also likely need a sleep study to monitor your sleep patterns and determine if normal breathing is pausing during sleep and the severity and frequency of those pauses.
OSA is highly treatable. Patients with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea can benefit from oral appliances, which fit in the mouth much like a mouth guard and work by preventing the soft tissues from blocking the airway. CPAP therapy is a first-line therapy for patients with severe OSA, but if they cannot tolerate CPAP therapy, they may also benefit from oral appliances. Dr. Radfar works with patients to determine the best therapies for their needs.
Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Radfar.