The physicians of ENT Partners of Texas are board certified in sleep medicine and are committed to help North Texans get a better night’s sleep.
Over 45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally and 25% are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and those who are overweight. Snoring may be an indication of obstructed breathing and should not be taken lightly. An ENT Partners of Texas Otolaryngologist can help you to determine where the anatomic source of your snoring may be and offer solutions for this noisy and often embarrassing behavior.
People who snore may suffer from:
- Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat. When muscles are too relaxed, the tongue falls backwards into the airway or the throat muscles draw in from the sides into the airway.
- Excessive bulkiness of throat tissue. Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore. Overweight people may have excess soft tissue in the neck that can lead to airway narrowing.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula. A long palate narrows the opening from the nose into the throat. The excessive length of the soft palate and/or uvula acts as a noisy flutter valve during relaxed breathing.
- Obstructed nasal airways. A stuffy or blocked nose requires extra effort to pull air through it. This creates an exaggerated vacuum in the throat that pulls together the floppy tissues of the throat, and snoring results.
Excessive snoring disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of adequate rest. It may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to serious, long-term health problems.
Snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is characterized by multiple episodes of breathing pauses greater than 10 seconds at a time, due to upper airway narrowing or collapse. This results in lower amounts of oxygen in the blood, which causes the heart to work harder. It also causes disruption of the natural sleep cycle, which makes people feel poorly rested despite adequate time in bed.
The immediate effect of sleep apnea is that the snorer must sleep lightly and keep the throat muscles tense in order to keep airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get good rest, they may be sleepy during the day, which impairs job performance and makes them a hazardous driver or equipment operator. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and many other medical problems.