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Snoring And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a sound that occurs during sleep when soft tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe. Snoring is extremely common in men, but also occurs frequently in women, especially during pregnancy and after menopause.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder during sleep that is characterized by snoring and recurrent collapse of the pharyngeal airway during sleep, resulting in a partial reduction (hypopnea) or complete cessation (apnea) of airflow despite ongoing breathing effort.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur.

A doctor must determine if your snoring is a sign that you have obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of OSA

  • Loud and frequent snoring
  • Nocturnal choking
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Lethargy, poor concentration, personality and mood changes and depression.

Why treatment of OSA is important?

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes 
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression 

Severe, untreated sleep apnea even increases your risk of death

Patients who have both symptoms and physical findings suggestive of OSA should undergo comprehensive sleep evaluation by the doctors.

Who are at risk of developing OSA ?

The following patients are at risk of developing OSA

  • Old age
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Retropositioned maxillae/mandible
  • Hypertrophied tonsils and tongue
  • Tobacco smoking 
  • Alcohol use
  • Night time nasal congestion

General measures for treating OSA

Counseling regarding smoking cessation

Avoidance of alcohol, sedatives, and nicotine 

Treatment of nasal obstruction in consultation with ENT surgeon

Weight loss

Counseling about sleep hygiene and avoidance of sleep deprivation


Snoring can be effectively treated with oral appliance therapy.

For obstructive sleep apnea, options include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy and surgery.

  • CPAP therapy involves wearing a face mask connected by tubing to a constantly running machine.
  •  Oral appliance therapy uses a mouth guard-like device - worn only during sleep - to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.
  • Surgical options include a variety of procedures. All have varying side effects and rates of success.

Why should I not breathe through mouth?

Advantage of nose breathing

  • Nose acts as a filter and retain small particles in air, including pollen
  • The nose aids moisture to air to prevent dryness in lungs in bronchial tubes
  • The nose warms up cold air to body temperature before it gets to your lungs
  • Nose breathing adds resistance to the air stream. This increase oxygen uptake by maintaining elasticity of the lungs

Causes of blocked nose

  • Nasal congestion
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyp
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Symptoms if patient breathe through mouth

  • Snoring
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Waking up tired and irritable
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Dark circles under the eye

Symptoms in children

  • Slower than normal growth rate
  • Irritability
  • Increase crying episodes at night
  • Large tonsils
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Problem concentrating at school
  • Daytime sleepiness

Want to Know More?

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