Occasional snoring is normal, but if you are being told you snore loudly every night, you could have something else. You could have sleep apnea, a sleep condition that can have serious consequences and can even shorten your life. Your ENT specialist is an expert at treating snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is caused by the intermittent relaxing of the tissue at the back of your throat. The relaxed tissue partially or completely blocks your airway while you sleep, depriving your body of oxygen.
Your brain, heart, and other vital organs are affected by the lack of blood flow, putting you at greater risk of:
- Developing heart disease
- Having a stroke
- Developing diabetes
- Acquiring memory problems
You are at greater risk of developing sleep apnea as you age, and if you are overweight. You may have sleep apnea if you are experiencing:
- Waking up with a gasping or choking sensation
- Headaches and a sore throat when you awaken
- Feeling fatigued and tired during the day
- Grogginess and problems concentrating
Your ENT specialist will need to have you do a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. If you have sleep apnea, your ENT specialist will discuss treatment options with you, which can include:
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine; is a device that produces a continuous supply of oxygen. You breathe the oxygen through a facepiece, which you wear while sleeping.
An oral mandibular advancement appliance; is a small appliance that fits over your teeth and holds your lower jaw forward, keeping your airway open while you sleep.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can go untreated. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above, or if your family members tell you about your snoring, take it seriously. It’s time to call your ENT specialist for a sleep study to see if you are suffering from sleep apnea. To find out more about sleep apnea signs, symptoms, and treatment, call your ENT specialist today.