Chances are high that you or someone you know snores. Many of us, however, view this as an annoying nighttime occurrence and don’t give it a second thought. This is a mistake. Snoring is often one of the key symptoms experienced by patients with sleep disorders. Assuming a snore is just a nuisance, and ignoring it, could lead to a patient overlooking a serious health issue.
If you or a loved one experience and/or exhibit loud snoring on a regular basis, it’s important to contact a pulmonary and sleep disorder specialist for evaluation. That’s where we come in. Formed in January of 1997, Ohio Chest Physicians, LTD., is a thriving independent pulmonary practice. Our doctors are all trained and board certified in both internal medicine and pulmonary medicine. Most importantly, we will do all we can to provide you with the best care possible!
Please feel free to contact us or request an appointment online. We are always happy to help!
Snoring occurs when airflow makes the tissues in the back of the throat vibrate. The vibrations (combined with a natural narrowing of the throat in your sleep) then create sounds - sometimes loud ones - as air passes overhead. Typically snoring occurs as we breathe inward, and it can happen when we breathe through the nose or mouth alike.
Snoring is very common - in fact, about half of us will snore at some point in our lives. There are also some factors that make certain people more likely to snore:
Sometimes certain medications (especially muscle relaxants), drinking alcohol, and sleeping on our backs can also increase the chances of snoring.
In many cases, it is not! In fact, light and/or occasional snoring is very unlikely to interfere with your sleep quality each night. Heavy snoring, however, may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) - a serious sleep disorder and a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many other health problems. Patients with OSA are more likely to suffer from poor sleep quality, as OSA leads to intermittent blockages in the airways (caused by the walls of the throat collapsing completely, rather than merely narrowing to a normal and healthy degree).
Unfortunately, patients suffering from OSA likely won’t remember waking up throughout the night when they inhale sharply to overcome the lack of airflow. As a result, the only signs of OSA are often daytime exhaustion and loved ones complaining about a patient’s loud snoring.
Firstly, don’t panic! Not everyone who snores has a serious sleep disorder. (About one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea.) Even those who do can manage their condition quite easily with advancing modern treatment options.
If a loved one expresses aggravation and/or concern about your snoring, it’s important to contact your primary care doctor and a sleep specialist. Sleep specialists are trained to detect and diagnose sleeping disorders by using either an in-lab sleep study or an at-home sleep test. Involving your family doctor is important because it allows them to stay involved in your care to whatever degree is needed, and to update their own records for future reference.
Depending on the specific findings of your sleep study, the following are all potential treatment options for snoring caused by OSA:
At Ohio Chest Physicians, LTD., our doctors are board-certified specialists in pulmonary, critical care, sleep, and internal medicine. In addition to offering care via our multiple offices, we work directly with the West Region Sleep Center to conduct patient sleep testing.
The Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) - this certifies that the Center meets or exceeds all AASM standards for professional, quality health care. Center physicians are specialists in the field of sleep medicine, and Center sleep technicians are aided by the latest in diagnostic technology.
To address complaints of heavy snoring, we will refer you to the Center for an overnight observational test (unless we decide an at-home test will be just as effective). In the event of a referral, the Center will report its findings back to us for your follow-up care at your Ohio Chest Physicians office of choice.