Snoring is a very common problem. Virtually all of us either snore, sleep with someone who snores or know someone who snores. Every family has a snorer who is often the object of many good-natured jokes. Yet, for many, snoring is a serious problem. It is not only embarrassing, but often keeps everyone in the house from getting a good night's sleep. Daytime problems such as fatigue, headache, and poor concentration can be attributed to poor sleep.
WHY WE SNORE:
When we breathe, air enters the nose and mouth on its way to the lungs. During the day, the tissues of the throat are held open by active muscle groups. When we sleep, our throat muscles relax, allowing the lining of the throat to move inward. Snoring is created by the tissues in the back of the throat vibrating against each other. The uvula and the soft palate are the main areas that are set into motion, thereby creating a snoring noise.
If your nose is clogged, you have to breathe harder through the nose in order to get air into your lungs. The harder you breathe in, the more you will pull the relaxed tissues in the back of the throat against one another and the louder you will snore. Therefore, nasal congestion for any reason, will often make snoring worse.
TONSILS AND ADENOIDS:
CAN BE SNORING SERIOUS?
As there is increasing collapse of tissue, the snoring may indicate obstructive sleep apnea which indicates poor oxygenation of the blood along with other chemical changes. It can be a serious medical problem. People who are not getting enough oxygen while sleeping are prone to a variety of ailments, including: poor sleep, daytime fatigue, and poor concentration. Other serious health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke, can be caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
THE OFFICE EVALUATION:
A thorough history and physical exam will usually indicate whether or not there is part of the more serious medical problem. The exam allows us to determine the cause of snoring. We can tell what role nasal congestion, allergies, and sinusitis play in snoring. The questions that need to be answered at this visit include: Do you have nasal obstruction? Are your tonsils and adenoids causing blockage? Are your enlarged uvula and floppy soft palate the main issue?
We recommend that nasal obstruction, sinusitis, tonsil disease and allergies be treated before the laser operation for snoring (LAUP). If sleep apnea is an issue, a sleep study should be performed before the LAUP.