Doctors calculate approximately that almost thirty million adults in America regularly snore. The vibration of relaxed, floppy tissues that line up the upper airway (or throat) causes snoring or gasping sounds during sleep. During slumber, the muscle tone of your body decreases and the muscles in your throat relax, which causes the uvula or the thickset formation hanging from the top of the mouth as well as the soft palette to shake as respiration occurs.

Snoring: Hazardous or Not?

The degree of danger this condition may pose for you varies. This may be a slight sleep nuisance or a sign of a more severe disorder called sleep apnea. Progressive snoring may result to the growth of more disturbing forms of sleep disorder symptoms such as:

  1. Excessive sleepiness during the day
  2. Headache
  3. Decreased sexual drive
  4. Weak performance at work

It has been found that snoring alone is not dangerous but it does cause sleep deprivation not only for you but for your partner as well.

How to Minimize Snoring

You can make positive lifestyle changes to minimize your snoring such as:

  1. Diet
  2. Clean living-no drinking and smoking
  3. Obtain allergy treatments
  4. Reduce drug intake (sedatives)
  5. Sleep sideways instead of inclined to prevent your tongue from falling into your mouth and blocking the airway.

Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea

They are similar types of abnormal breathing caused by sleep disorders. Snoring is characterised by the volume increased breathing sleep caused by a partial obstruction in the airway.

 Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea which is manifested by a total blockage of the airway during sleep. This will cause the person to stop breathing for about ten seconds or so. This episodes can occur many times during the night.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you experience your partner being silent after a snore followed by a soft snort and coughing, this is a certain sign of apnea.

Sleep Apnea Risks

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Decreased brain oxygen
  3. Daytime tiredness
  4. Limited functioning
  5. Cardiac Arrest
  6. Stroke

Reminder: despite the relation, not all snorers have sleep apnea and not all with sleep apnea snore.

Available Treatments

  1. Using various tools to open up the airway can be used. There are tools that can pull the tongue forward via suction to free the passageway.
  2. Some use mandibular repositioning tools to position and maintain the jaw in a protruding phase during sleep.
  3. Nasal sprays can also be used to relieve inflamed nostrils that may block the passageway causing apnea.
  4. An enduring airway pressure provided through a mask will help open the airway during sleep.

Therapy may last a few weeks and must be accompanied by subsequent visits. Surgery is required in some patients.

Types of Apnea and Snoring Surgeries

  1. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): extraction of the uvola
  2. Nasal surgery: remove nasal blockage, and repair deviated septum
  3. Somnoplasty: the process of partially removing the soft palette via low intensity radio charge.

Dental Help

Your dentist can help via proper diagnosis and referral to a sleep specialist. He or she may have to confine you overnight for a systematic sleep observation. Upon diagnosis, the dentist can work with the sleep specialist to implement the necessary therapeutic procedures.

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