If you have ever shared a room with someone who snores, you know just how annoying this habit can be. There are several reasons that can explain the occasional experience of “cutting some logs;” temporary swelling due to allergies or a cold is often the underlying cause of snoring. More and more lately, though, we are hearing about snoring as a chronic problem, an event that occurs more nights than not. Chronic snoring can be disruptive to a person’s relationships in more ways than one, and may even present a very real threat to ongoing health and wellness.
Snoring Isn’t Always What it Seems
Snoring, the actual sounds of snoring, occur when the air is passing through a constricted airway. This constriction, in temporary situations, may be in the nasal passages or the throat. Most often, chronic snoring indicates an issue in the throat, not the nasal passages. An exception would be that a person has a deviated septum, which is not nearly as common as the other potential problem: obstructive sleep apnea.
There are differences between obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and they are significant enough to alert you to a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. When someone has obstructive sleep apnea, they may offer unique signs such as:
- Snoring very loudly and then going silent.
- Gasping before going back to loud snoring (or making a choking sound).
- Complaining of a sore throat or a headache in the mornings.
- Complaining of persistent tiredness during the day.
- The difficulty with interpersonal interactions due to irritability, anxiety, or depression.
When you look at the singular symptom of momentary silence, you observe the primary problem of obstructive sleep apnea. Loud Snoring occurs when the air is struggling over soft tissue, causing vibration. Silence occurs when the obstruction wins, and airflow stops. The choking or gasping sound indicates that the brain has released adrenaline to resume breathing. Additional symptoms often relate to the poor quality of sleep that results from numerous apnea episodes each night.
Snoring is a nuisance, no doubt, but it can be much more, too. Dr. Barney, a Fellow of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, offers oral appliance therapy for patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. To learn more about this condition and your treatment options, call our Hedgesville office at (304) 754-8803.