Do you snore? If you answered yes, you are not alone. It’s estimated that nearly 90 million people in the US snore occasionally and 37 million people snore regularly. It is so common that many people do not even think of it as a problem, but merely as an annoyance.
The fact is that snoring can affect your sleep quality, which can have long-term implications for your physical as well as mental health. Not to mention the fact that your snoring can disrupt your partner’s sleep and affect their health in the long term as well.
More importantly, snoring could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. If left untreated, what you think is a minor inconvenience could prove to be fatal. That’s why you should consult with a qualified sleep specialist and take steps to treat your snoring problem before it turns into something more dangerous.
What is Snoring and What Causes It?
It is a physiological phenomenon that occurs when the flow of air through your nose and mouth is partially blocked. This obstruction causes the tissues in your throat to vibrate, which causes you to make a whistling, rattling, or snorting sound. The sound can range from soft and gentle to loud and disruptive – depending on which part of your airways vibrate, your sleeping position, and many other factors.
Snoring can be caused by a number of factors including:
As you age, your muscle tone decreases significantly, which causes your airways to shrink in size and constrict, which can increase the risk of snoring.
Blocked nasal passages due to allergies, sinus infections, or common cold can cause you to breathe through the mouth, leading to snoring.
Excess weight, especially in the neck area, can put pressure on your throat muscles, narrow your airways, and cause you to snore.
When you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate tend to collapse and slip to the back of your throat due to gravity and the pressure caused by the weight of your neck and chest pressing down. As a result, your airways can get partially obstructed, which can increase the likelihood of snoring.
Alcohol and Sedatives
Alcohol and sedative medications can have a relaxing effect on your body. When your mouth and throat muscles are relaxed, your airways can get partially blocked, which can cause you to snore.
Smoking irritates your throat and nasal membranes, which can lead to congestion and increase the likelihood of snoring.
Certain anatomical attributes such as enlarged tonsils, long uvula, or a low and thick soft palate can contribute to snoring.
Snoring could be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea – a serious condition where your airways are partially or completely blocked during sleep – causing you to stop and start breathing repeatedly.
How Snoring Can Impact Your Health
Snoring often leads to interrupted or fragmented sleep, causing you as well as your partner to wake up several times throughout the night. It can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, which can affect your performance at work.
Research shows that the lack of restful, restorative sleep can lead to low blood oxygen levels over time and affect your cognitive performance. Over time, it can significantly increase the risk of a number of health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Sleep disruptions caused by habitual snoring can lead to irritability, mood swings, and increased stress levels, which can adversely impact your emotional well-being and your overall mental health. If your partner is consistently losing sleep because of your snoring, it can lead to irritability and frustration and strain your relationship with them.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea – What You Need to Know
Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea – a condition where your upper airway becomes partially or completely obstructed during sleep, causing you to pause breathing. The pauses in breathing can last for 10 to 30 seconds at a time or even longer in some cases. It can happen numerous times throughout the night. When the breathing resumes, it often does with a loud gasp or snort.
The oxygen deprivation and the stress of waking up repeatedly during the night can lead to elevated cortisol levels and increase the risk of arrhythmias and heart disease to a significant extent. Data shows that the risk of heart attack is twice as high in people with untreated sleep apnea when compared to those who do not have the problem.
How Anti-Snoring Devices Can Reduce Snoring
Nasal strips – also referred to as external nasal dilators or snore strips – are adhesive devices that can be applied to the outside of your nose – just like a plaster. When applied along the bridge of the nose, a nasal strip can pull open your nostrils and widen your nasal passages, so that you can breathe easily through your nose.
Nasal congestion or narrowed nasal passages can create resistance to airflow – particularly when you inhale. The resistance can cause the soft tissues in your throat to vibrate, resulting in snoring. A nasal strip can reduce this resistance, improve airflow, and reduce your need to breathe through the mouth.
An internal nasal dilator – also referred to as a nasal cone, clip, or stent – is a device that is designed to keep your nasal passages open during sleep. It is designed to fit inside your nostrils. When applied, the springy material gently pushes your nasal walls outward and widens your nasal passages.
Internal nasal dilators can be a good choice for those who suffer from nasal congestion and tend to breathe through their mouth. These dilators can expand your nasal passages and improve airflow through your nose. When you are able to breathe freely through your nose, you are less likely to snore.
In individuals with weak nasal cartilage, the nostrils tend to partially collapse inward during sleep, which can cause them to snore. Internal nasal dilators can provide the necessary support to the nostrils, prevent them from collapsing, and ensure the airways remain open, which can reduce snoring to a great extent.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine
A CPAP machine is designed to deliver a constant stream of pressurized air through a mask, which can be worn over your nose and mouth. The pressurized air prevents your airway from collapsing and getting blocked during sleep, which in turn prevents the pauses in your breathing. The pressure setting in the device is determined based on the severity of your snoring problem.
It should be noted that anti-snoring devices like nasal strips, dilators, and CPAP machines can only provide temporary relief and do not address the root cause of your snoring problem. If snoring is caused by a soft palate, overextended uvula, or any other anatomical problem, these devices might not be effective. In other words, if you want to stop snoring, nasal strips, dilators, and other such devices cannot provide permanent relief.
When it comes to snoring, a permanent solution is possible only when you consult with a qualified sleep specialist. They can diagnose the specific cause of your snoring problem and recommend the appropriate treatments for permanent relief.
MIPS – A Permanent Solution to Eliminate Snoring
If you have obstructive sleep apnea caused by an overextended uvula or a soft palate, you might be a good candidate for Dr. Mandel’s innovative and proven Minimally Invasive Palatal Stiffening (MIPS). The MIPS procedure can correct the obstruction and stiffen your soft palate to improve airflow and eliminate snoring.
Dr. Mandel employs a precise diode laser to access the palatal surface of the uvula and soft palate, with the aim of addressing the area of obstruction. The surgical procedure is specifically designed to reinforce the soft palate, reducing the vibrations during breathing that leads to airway blockages.
After undergoing Dr. Mandel’s MIPS procedure, patients often notice enhanced sleep quality within just one week. The surgery itself is brief, lasting about three minutes, and patients can usually resume their regular activities within a day. While some patients may experience a mildly sore throat for about a few days, overall post-op discomfort is minimal. Many patients report ongoing improvements in their breathing and sleep quality.
If your snoring problem is caused by narrow sinus passages, nasal polyps, swollen turbinates, deviated septum, or other anatomical abnormalities, you can benefit from minimally invasive nasal procedures like balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery, which can correct the abnormalities and provide permanent relief from snoring.
Home Sleep Testing: Your Journey to Relief Begins with Dr. Mandel’s Comprehensive Assessment
Chronic snoring can be a distressing experience for both you and your partner. The primary culprit behind snoring in adults is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the muscles in your throat and airway relax during sleep, causing your air passage to constrict or even close off as you breathe. This results in disruptive, noisy snoring and, more critically, can hinder the brain’s oxygen intake. OSA not only disrupts your sleep but can also pose potential long-term health risks. To diagnose OSA, Dr. Mandel employs a safe and convenient at-home sleep test.
Traditionally, most physicians send patients to third-party facilities for sleep testing, which can be uncomfortable. In contrast, Dr. Mandel and the Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists team utilize specialized home sleep testing kits to evaluate and diagnose OSA. This approach is not only more convenient and comfortable but also serves as the foundation for your personalized treatment plan. Effective treatment hinges on understanding your unique anatomical characteristics and sources of discomfort. Therefore, obtaining precise data on the root causes of your OSA is paramount.
Third-party facilities often yield data that may be compromised due to patients waking up during the test. Drawing from the successful treatment of thousands of patients, Dr. Mandel has found that the most accurate results are obtained from the comfort of your own home.
Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists – Expert Care for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
If you have a snoring problem that is keeping you as well as your partner up at night, it is time for you to find a permanent solution to your problem. At Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists, we have extensive experience in treating chronic snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and a number of other sleep disorders.
Led by Dr. Lee Mandel – a board-certified specialist in otolaryngology with more than 20 years of experience in treating sinus, nasal, sleep, and snoring-related problems – our team is best equipped to treat even the most complicated of snoring problems.
We can create personalized treatment plans to address the root cause of your snoring problem and provide permanent relief. From MIPS to nasal procedures, we offer a wide range of medical and surgical treatment options to treat snoring and sleep disorders.
We have a successful track record of helping thousands of patients get permanent relief from snoring, sleep apnea, and other related problems. Our unmatched surgical expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge treatments, and patient-centered approach have helped us earn the trust of countless individuals and families in South Florida.
Call us today at 954-994-2285 or contact us online to talk to an experienced South Florida snoring specialist.