Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Consistent snoring can be a sign of a serious medical condition. It can also be annoying for your partner.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Consistent snoring can be a sign of a serious medical condition. It can also be annoying for your partner.

What is Snoring / Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Snoring refers to the loud, harsh sound you hear when air passes through your throat. This causes the tissues to vibrate and cause the air to flow past the relaxed tissues. While most people snore occasionally, it can become a problem for some people. It could also be a sign of a serious medical condition. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol at bedtime, or sleeping on your side can reduce snoring. There are also medical devices and surgeries that can reduce disruptive snoring.

Symptoms of Snoring / Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Many people associate snoring with obstructive sleeping apnea (OSA) a sleep disorder. OSA is not a common condition. However, snoring can be accompanied by the following symptoms. Seek medical attention if you have any questions.

  • Witnessed breath pauses during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Concentration is difficult
  • Morning headaches
  • After awakening, sore throat
  • Sleepless nights
  • Nighttime choking or gasping
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime chest pain
  • Your partner is disturbed by your snoring.
  • Poor attention span, behavior issues, and poor school performance are all common in children.

OSA is often characterized by loud snoring, followed by periods when breathing stops completely or almost stops. This snoring or pause in breathing can eventually signal that you need to get up.

Disturbed sleep can cause you to sleep lightly.

Causes of Snoring / Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Many factors can cause snoring, including your anatomy, sinuses, alcohol intake, allergies, colds, and weight.

The muscles of the roof of the mouth (soft palate), tongue, and throat relax when you fall asleep and transition from light to deep sleep. Your throat tissues can relax to the point that they block your airway partially and vibrate.

Airflow is more powerful the narrower your airway. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which can cause your snoring and grow louder.
These conditions can cause snoring and affect your airway.

  • Your mouth anatomy. A thick, low-pitched soft palate can cause the narrowing of your airway. Overweight people may have more tissue in their throats, which can narrow their airways. If the triangular piece hanging from the soft palate (uvula) is too long, vibration can increase, and airflow can become blocked.
  • Alcohol intake. Snoring may also result from excessive alcohol consumption before bedtime. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and lowers your natural defenses against obstruction of the airways.
  • Nasal problems. A crooked nasal septum or chronic nasal congestion may contribute to your snoring.
  • Too little sleep can cause throat relaxation.
  • Sleep position. Snoring occurs most often when you sleep on your back. Gravity’s effect on the throat narrows your airway.

Risk Factors for Snoring / Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

These risk factors may be contributing to snoring:

  • Being a man. Men are more likely than women to have sleep apnea or snore
  • Being overweight. Obese and overweight people are more likely to snore
  • A narrow airway. A long soft palate or large tonsils, or adenoids can cause snoring and narrow the airway
  • Consuming alcohol. Drinking alcohol can relax your throat muscles and increase the likelihood of snoring
  • Having nasal problems. Your risk of snoring increases if you have a structural defect such as a deviated or chronically congested nose

A family history of snoring and obstructive sleeping apnea. OSA can be caused by heredity.


Treatment Options May Include:

Your Century ENT physician might suggest the following:

  • Dental appliances. Dental appliances are custom-made dental mouthpieces that adjust the position of your teeth, tongue, and soft palate to maintain open-air passages. Your dentist will help you optimize the fitting and positioning of an oral appliance. Your sleep specialist will also be involved in making sure that the appliance works as it should. You may need to visit your dentist at least six times a year for the initial year. Then, you will need to go to the dentist at least every other year to have the fit checked and assess your oral health.
    These devices can cause facial discomfort, excessive salivation, dryness, and jaw pain.
  • Continuous positive pressure (CPAP) is a method of maintaining constant airway pressure while you sleep. The mask delivers pressurized air from the small bedside pump to your nasal passages to help keep them open while you sleep.
    CPAP (pronounced “SEE-pap”) is a treatment that eliminates snoring. It can also be used to treat OSA-related snoring.
    CPAP is the best and most effective way to treat OSA. However, some people are uncomfortable with the noise or feel.
  • Upper Airway Surgery. A variety of techniques are used to open the upper airway.
    For example, in a procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), you’re given general anesthetics, and your surgeon tightens and trims excess tissues from your throat — a type of face-lift for your throat. Maxillomandibular enhancement (MMA) is another procedure that involves moving the upper jaws forward. This opens the airway. Radiofrequency tissue ablation uses a low-intensity radiofrequency wave to shrink the soft palate, tongue, or nose tissue.
  • INSPIRE Therapy. Century ENT is proud to offer INSPIRE therapy, a new treatment option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. This innovative solution can offer relief to sleep apnea sufferers who cannot tolerate CPAP. INSPIRE is the only FDA-approved obstructive sleep apnea treatment that works inside your body to treat the root cause of sleep apnea. It’s a small device placed during a same-day, outpatient procedure. Learn More About INSPIRE therapy.

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