Causes and Treatments for Snoring in Houston, TX
Snoring is a common problem that affects millions of Americans. It can begin at any stage of life and generally worsens with age. Many people do not even realize that they snore until they find out from a partner or family member. Mild snoring may have few or no effects. Unfortunately, snoring can become very serious and disruptive, so it is vital to do your research and get treatment early.
Since 2004 Dr. Landry has been a qualified sleep medicine dentist since 2004 and a holistic general dentist since 1981. The entire team at HS Apnea is highly dedicated to increasing our knowledge and expertise of sleep medicine so you can live longer, feel healthier and more rested, and enjoy a better quality of life. Contact our beautiful Houston office and schedule a consultation today
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What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissue in the mouth and throat while you breathe in and out during sleep. As you relax into sleep, soft tissue areas naturally relax. These include the throat, palate, and tongue. Air moving over these surfaces can produce snoring. Snoring can get worse due to several critical factors. Some conditions can cause temporary snoring, such as a cold or upper respiratory infection. Many people with seasonal allergies also snore due to mucus pooling in the back of the throat while they are asleep. It’s also important to evaluate chronic sinus issues and structural defects in the airway, like a deviated septum.
In general, people who are overweight are more likely than others to snore. Recent research has shown that carrying excess weight can cause fat accumulation in the tongue, which may partially obstruct the airway. Drinking alcohol is also a risk factor for snoring. Most cases of snoring are not so simple. The sleeper’s airway is permanently narrowed due to the anatomy of the mouth or throat, making snoring more consistent. As sleep quality declines, further snoring episodes become likely since sleep deprivation promotes soft tissue relaxation. In some cases, sleep position is a contributing factor to snoring. The effects of gravity make snoring more pronounced when sleeping on the back. A change in sleep position may decrease snoring, but it is not usually enough on its own.
Health Risks Of Snoring
It is vital to recognize that problems brought on by snoring don’t require the sufferer to wake up in the night. Many people who snore aren’t even aware of the condition. Even so, it makes sleep less efficient and forces the body to work harder. The health risks of snoring become more severe over time. They include:
Daytime Drowsiness becomes more critical as snoring progresses. Although only inconvenient at first, it can cause difficulties in school and workplace performance. Sleep disorders are more likely as the sufferer compensates with naps, caffeine, and other approaches.
Mood Regulation Issues can negatively impact your mood. No matter your age or background, emotional stress is easier to manage when you have slept. Decreased sleep quality associated with snoring can lead to more emotional outbursts, including anger and sadness.
Problems with Focus and Concentration from lack of sufficient rest can inhibit cognitive performance. It becomes much more difficult for snoring sufferers to remember details or stay focused on tasks. Over time, this can result in stress, which compounds the problem and contributes to burnout.
Risk of Cardiovascular Problems can increase without proper sleep, which is a regulator of blood pressure. People who regularly experience low quality sleep are much more likely to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and related issues.
Behavioral Issues in Children from lack of sleep can be more pronounced than in adults. Sleep is critical for helping them regulate impulsive behavior and strong emotions. Reduced sleep makes these tasks harder, which can lead to acting out in class.
Risk of Vehicular and Workplace Accidents can increase with sleep deprivation. Impaired reaction time is measurable in adults who have had low quality sleep due to snoring. Slow reaction time can contribute to motor vehicle accidents, causing millions of dollars in preventable damage every year.
Other Long-Term Health Concerns in those who snore are varied and complex. It is difficult to know what long-term issues might develop as a result of compromised sleep. In the long run, disordered sleep weakens the immune system and impairs long-term memory. Effective snoring treatment is imperative to control its effects.
Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea
Snoring is a common complication of sleep apnea, but that does not mean everyone who snores has this condition. Sleep apnea indicates a more profound disturbance in breathing. Snoring can disrupt breathing during sleep, but it is relatively mild in comparison. Sleep apnea indicates the sufferer has stopped breathing, often for several seconds.
All adults have brief apneas during sleep. However, these apneas can become too prolonged, leading to a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Frequent apneas have severe effects on the whole body. The health effects of sleep apnea are similar to those of snoring. However, they are more profound and develop much faster. Frequently diagnosed complications can include:
- Depression leads to a pervasive low mood that can decrease a person’s energy and motivation. People with sleep apnea are more likely than others to develop and struggle with depression.
- In acid reflux, stomach acid reverses course up the digestive tract and can even move up into the throat. Reflux worsens feelings of heartburn. If severe enough, it can cause intestinal damage.
- Like other chronic sleep disorders, sleep apnea can compromise immune system performance, making chronic bacterial and viral infections more likely.
- Asthma is a breathing disorder characterized by inflammation and spasms in the small airways within the lungs. Most cases develop in childhood, but sleep apnea can spur adult asthma.
- Non-alcohol fatty liver disease is a long-term complication of sleep apnea. The disorder leads to reduced liver function, which makes it more difficult for the body to filter blood and metabolize drugs.
If you snore, there is a chance you might also have sleep apnea. An overnight sleep study is a useful diagnostic tool for monitoring the number of apneas you experience on a nightly basis.
There are five primary methods to treat snoring. The simplest of these is the oral appliance. These dental mouthpieces adjust the placement of the jaw, tongue, and upper palate to widen the airway during sleep. For the best results, Dr. Landry can fabricate a high-quality device with a custom fit. Continuous positive airway pressure treats severe snoring and cases where sleep apnea and snoring present together. This nightly treatment involves wearing a mask over the nose and mouth that gently applies a continuous stream of air to keep the airway open.
Surgery is an option in cases where snoring is caused mainly by a specific area of soft tissue. Excess tissue can be cut away from the throat, or radiofrequency energy can be applied to the soft palate and tongue to shrink tissues in those areas. Maxillomandibular advancement can be used to move the upper and lower jaws forward. The results produce a similar effect to the oral appliance.
Finally, hypoglossal nerve stimulation is one of the newest forms of treatment for snoring. A surgeon applies a stimulus to the nerve that controls the forward motion of the tongue. The procedure encourages the tongue to remain in a position that does not block the airway.
You Deserve the Gift of Sleep
If you’ve been told that you snore or you suspect that you do, it’s crucial to get diagnosed as soon as possible. What seems like a small inconvenience at first can evolve into a critical health issue. Luckily, many patients eliminate their snoring with appropriate treatment. Houston Sleep Apnea can provide expert diagnosis and comprehensive treatment so you can get the rest you need to live a better life. Call us today!
CALL US: (281) 612-3153 REQUEST APPOINTMENT