The noisy sounds of snoring occur when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing.
Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25 percent are habitual snorers. 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 source of snoring may be and offer solutions for this noisy and often embarrassing behavior.
Yes, both socially and medically. Socially – It can make the snorer an object of ridicule and disrupt the sleep of loved ones, which may cause an enormous strain on a relationship. Medically – It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.
When loud snoring is interrupted by repeated episodes of completely obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Serious episodes last more than ten seconds each and occur more than seven times per hour. Apnea 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 sleep apnea is that the snorer must sleep lightly and keep his muscles tense in order to continue airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get a good rest, he may be sleepy during the day, which may impair job performance and makes him a hazardous driver or equipment operator. After many years with this disorder, elevated blood pressure and heart enlargement may occur.
Heavy 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 specialists at Ears, Nose + Throat Care Center will provide a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate, and neck.