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SNORING: CAUSES & CURES

WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA?

It is estimated that 45% of normal adults snore occasionally but 25% are habitual snorers. Heavy snoring is more common in males and overweight persons and the problem usually grows worse with age.

Snoring is the result or the airway being constricted by one or more of these physical conditions:
1- Poor muscle tone in the soft palate. This may worsen when muscles are relaxed by consumption of alcohol or by smoking.
2- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
3- A large Uvula
4- Obstructed airway, caused by nasal polyps, deviated septum or mandibular deformities.
5- Excessive weight causing tissues in the neck to be bulky and flaccid

Loud snoring can be a warning of sleep apnea.

WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA?

Snoring can range form irritating to life threatening. When you snore you may merely annoy those in the same room, depriving them of sleep. You may be awakened by your own snoring pattern, interrupting your sleep cycle and causing fatigue or you may experience the problem in its most exaggerated form known as: Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea can deprive the snorer from oxygen and "deep" sleep stages and because of a distort sleep, excessive day somnolence is usually present. The patient suffering of sleep apnea can fall asleep while driving or on the job. Researchers have also associated the condition with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

A complete examination and sleep test (polysomnography) are mandatory to diagnose this condition.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a C.P.A.P. (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) This is a mask that is worn over the nose while sleeping. It is connected to a unit which supplies a constant push of air, the degrees of which can be controlled. Its purpose is to pressurize the nasal passages and throat so that they don't collapse. An other treatment includes surgery named an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) This procedure is designed to reduce the excessive tissue found in the palate and uvula. When present the tonsils also are included in the excision. The operation is performed under general anesthesia.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO DECREASE SNORING?

1- Try weight loss
2- Avoid smoking
3- Avoid sleeping pills, tranquilizers or antihistamine before going to bed
4- Avoid alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of bedtime
5- Sleep on your side rather then on your back
6- Raise the head of your bed
7- LASER SURGERY
8- Oral appliances (moving the tongue or mandible forward)

HOW CAN SNORING BE TREATED WITH LASER SURGERY?

In some cases snoring may be best treated with laser surgery known as Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) This minor surgery performed in the doctor's office or clinic uses exacting laser technology to reshape the soft palate and open the airway so you can breath better and snore substantially less.