From The Daily Courier…
On its own, snoring is not necessarily a serious concern.
That is the word from Dr. Robert Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley and the author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day.
“Almost everybody with sleep apnea snores, but not everybody who snores has sleep apnea,” Rosenberg said.
He cited statistics to back that up. While 40 percent of men and 20 to 25 percent of women snore habitually, only 12 percent of men and 8 percent of women have sleep apnea.
The difference? Snoring is produced by vibrations of the soft tissues of the upper airway. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway collapses and air cannot get into the lungs, interrupting sleep 30 to 60 times per hour.
“If you’re a snorer and you don’t have sleep apnea, you’re screwing up somebody else’s sleep,” he said.
Snoring logs in at between 50 and 95 decibels. Loud conversation registers at 50 decibels, a loud radio at 60 to 70 decibels and street noises at 110 decibels, Rosenberg said.
“It’s a very common reason that people end up sleeping in separate bedrooms,” he said.
Being overweight or obese is one common reason people snore. Their airways are smaller because of the adipose tissue inside the lining of the pharynx, Rosenberg explained.
Those who drink or smoke are also more likely to snore. Alcohol weakens the muscles of the upper airway at night, suppressing contraction and predisposing folks to snore. Tobacco causes inflammation of the upper airway. At night, when people do not have conscious control over their breathing, they snore.
“Mouth-breathers tend to snore much more frequently than those who breathe through their nose at night,” he said. That means folks may snore when they are congested due to a cold or allergies, but sleep quietly when they are not.
Those with recessed jaws are also more likely to snore. Because their jaw sits farther back, their tongue also sits father back and will block the airway, Rosenberg explained.
Want to stop snoring?
Stop drinking and smoking and lose weight.
A Body Mass Index of 30 or higher is considered obese. Bringing that BMI down to 25 or less (not obese) – or even down to 28 or less – can reduce snoring, he said.
Several surgical procedures can successfully stop snoring, although Rosenberg doesn’t see many people who seek surgery to cure snoring.
Most people who snore try an oral appliance.
Mandibular advancement devices, similar to braces but more complicated, involve making a mold of the upper and lower teeth and then constructing an appliance that, by the turn of a key, slowly repositions the jaw, he said.
Even something as simple as Breathe Right strips can effectively eliminate snoring for many people. Breathing through their nose, not their mouth, makes them less likely to snore.
Those whose snoring is accompanied by a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes may have a more serious condition.
Other symptoms to be on the lookout for include: trouble concentrating, fatigue, trouble staying awake in meetings, trouble driving long distances, moodiness, irritability, and anxiety.
“That is when you definitely want to get the snoring evaluated because it may go beyond snoring,” Rosenberg said. “That’s a very serious disease.”