There is more to snoring than just the noise. Snoring only appears to a problem for the bed partner who has to listen to it all night long, after all a good snorer can crank out about 90 decibels which is comparable to a train whistle at 500 feet. That’s loud!
It is usually the one that has to listen to the snoring that forces some kind of solution. Everyone wants a good night sleep in order to be healthier and happier. Ironically, it is the snorer who could be in mortal danger. What starts out as a problem for me, the bed partner, ends up being a serious problem for the one doing the snoring.
Patients ask me what the options are to stop snoring. My answer is, “Well, that depends because no two people are alike.” Snoring can be the sign of some very serious medical issues not to be taken lightly. Like with any medical condition, the serious issues should not be overlooked.
Here is why it is confusing:
- A person who snores may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
- A person with OSA might not snore so they go undiagnosed which is dangerous.
- Apnea comes in several forms in several stages of sleep. One form of apnea is created by the brain and not nasal obstruction.
- It can create dangerous problems with the heart during sleep.
- It can cause Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD).
- It can cause the patient to stop breathing in such a manner that the oxygen saturation of the blood can go down to very serious levels.
Common Snoring Traits
People who snore and those who have apnea can have the following common physical traits:
- Large Necks
- Big Tongues
- Wear on Lower Teeth
- Extreme day time sleepiness
Apnea is a medical problem and should be treated as such. The first step in treatment is getting a proper diagnosis which can only be done with a formal sleep study and under the guidance of a sleep physician.
The diagnosis is broken up into the following:
- Snores only
- Mild, Moderate or Severe Apnea
In the past, the gold standard was the CPAP which is the mask that fits over the nose and is hooked up to a air machine. It is still the standard for severe apnea. The problem with the CPAP is that not everyone can or will wear one.
Recently, the FDA has recognized that certain oral devices, which can only be made by dentists, can and do stop snoring for the mild and moderate apnics. This reality has quite literally forced MD’s and dentist to work together for the betterment of their patient’s health and that is a great thing.
So, if you or your loved one snores, it can be a serious issue so talk to Dr. Radz and your MD about your concerns.
Thanks to Dr. Mack Lee for this contribution.