Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 45% of normal adults snore occasionally, and 25% are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight people, and it usually worsens with aging.
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula (that fleshy appendage hanging from the back of your throat). Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing. Reasons for this include poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, bulkiness of throat tissue, a long soft palate or uvula and nasal passage obstructions or deformities (such as a deviated septum).
Snoring is a common problem and may be a sign of a serious medical disorder, sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which the sleeper stops breathing intermittently throughout the night. The most common form is called obstructive sleep apnea and it often accompanies snoring. With this type, the sleeper’s air passages become blocked.
Blockage can be caused by relaxed throat muscles, which cause the tongue and uvula to sag and block the airway. Overweight patients may have excessive tissue in their airways that can easily cause blockage. Excess swelling or mucus production in the nose from allergies can also narrow breathing passages and substantially obstruct respiration.
Snoring disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer, and often sleeping partners, of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can potentially cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, which can have life-threatening consequences. So if you or a loved one has a snoring problem, call Alamo Sleep Disorders Center at 210-340-1141 or Request An Appointment. Our experienced sleep physicians can accurately diagnose your problem and help you get the good night’s sleep you need.