Three important questions about snoring are answered here.
Why is snoring serious?
Snoring can cause social stigma and embarrassment and can often cause the snorer’s bed partner to experience sleepless nights with resultant daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Snoring also disrupts the snorer’s own sleeping patterns and causes a lack of adequate rest. Most importantly, it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to serious, long-term health problems.
How is snoring and apnea evaluated?
Heavy snorers should seek medical advice to ensure that sleep apnea is not a problem. Heavy snorers include people who snore constantly in any position or who negatively impact a bed partner’s sleep. A thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate, and neck, often using a fiberoptic scope. This exam can be done in the office by placing a small, flexible scope into the nose. First, the nose is anesthetized with a spray. Then the scope is placed into the nose and advanced into the throat. The whole exam is painless and takes less than a minute. An examination can reveal if the snoring is caused by nasal allergy, infection, nasal obstruction, palate elongation, tongue base enlargement, or enlargement of tonsils and adenoids. A sleep study in a laboratory (polysomnogram, or PSG) or at home (HST) may also be necessary to determine if snoring is due to OSA.
When is snoring an indication of sleep apnea?
All snorers with any of the following symptoms should be evaluated for possible obstructive sleep apnea:
- Witnessed episodes of breath pauses or apnea during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- History of a stroke
Schedule an Appointment
If you would like to schedule an appointment with the Tennessee Sinus and Snoring Center please click on the link below.