Snoring & Sleep apnea

Snoring can be defined as an inspiratory (breathing in) noise produced by vibration of the softer parts of the airway and surrounding tissues; however, snoring can be caused by many different ways. Any narrowing of the airway can have an effect on whether you do or do not snore.


Frequent abnormalities associated with snoring:

  • Deviated nasal septum

  • Congenital narrowing of the nasal or oropharyngeal cavity

  • Nasal polyps

  • Nasal congestion

  • Tonsillar Hypertrophy (enlarged tonsills)

  • Macroglossia (enlarged tongue)

  • Malposition of the hyoid bone ( bone beneath the tongue)

  • Obesity

Functional Factors:

  • Supine sleeping (back lying position).

  • Sleep deprivation.

  • Decreased muscle tone of the surrounding airway muscles.

  • Sex...snoring as well as sleep apnea is more prevalent in men than in women.

  • Hormonal diseases...including hypothyroidism.

  • Heredity


  • Sleep aids

  • Alcohol

  • Smoking

What if my child snores?
Treating Snoring
If snoring persists, there are several operations that can be done to reduce or eliminated snoring. These operation involve removing a portion of the soft palate (the soft part of the roof of the mouth). One of these procedures is called a LAUP ("lay-up", for Laser Assisted Uvulopalato- pharyngoplasty) and can be done in the office with a local anesthetic. It is usually done as a series of separate treatments separated by roughly 6 weeks. Treatment is continued until the snoring has stopped or is sufficiently reduced. The other type of surgical treatment is more involved and must be done in the operating room under a general anesthetic. As with obstructive sleep apnea, if you have concerns about snoring you should contact your doctor for a complete evaluation.


Sleep Apnea

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome is the cessation of airflow with the continuance of respiratory effort during sleep. Simply put, it is when a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep. Breathing stops (apnea) because the airway collapses and prevents air from getting into the lungs, thus oxygen levels in the blood decrease and sleep patterns are disrupted. The airway can become obstructed by several different means. Listed below are some common examples:

  • Tonsillar Hypertrophy (enlarged tonsils)

  • Elongated Palate or Uvula

  • Thick tongue base

  • Deviated septum

  • Nasal Polyps

  • Nasal congestion (including allergy related congestion)

How many people have OSAS (Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome)?

  • 4 in 100 middle-aged men and 2 in 100 middle-aged women have OSA.

  • It is estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have OSA.

  • Most OSA sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea is as common as adult asthma.

What happens if Obstructive Sleep Apnea is not treated?

Possible increased risk for:

  • Fatigue-related accidents

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease and heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Decreased quality of life

  • Irregular heartbeat

How do I know if I have OSAS (Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome)?

Let's look at some of the most often seen signs and symptoms associated with OSAS:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Gasping (choking) or pauses in breath during sleep

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Daytime fatigue

  • Depression

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Palpitations

  • Recurrent awakening from sleep

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)

  • Morning headaches

  • Unrefreshing sleep

  • Memory Loss

  • Irritability

  • Dry mouth

  • Snoring

Who is most likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Listed below are six factors that increase the risk of OSAS:

  • Obesity, especially in the upper body

  • Male gender

  • Small upper airway due to excess throat tissue or abnormal jaw structure

  • Nasal obstruction

  • High blood pressure

  • Family history of OSA.

What should you do if you suspect you may have OSA?

  • Consult your doctor for an evaluation, a physician that specialized in sleep disorders is recommended.

  • Have a sleep study done. An overnight sleep study,called a PSG (polysomnograph) can provide the doctor with important information on how you sleep and breathe. This information will help the doctor to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

What kind of treatments are there for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The most common treatment is:

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) pronounced see-PAP.

Less common treatments include: (May be effective in certain individuals)



Oral appliances, example shown here:

Any treatments should include weight loss, if needed, exercise, sufficient hours sleep and avoidance of alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics and tobacco.


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