Things That Go Honk In The Night: Snoring, Sleep Apnea, And When To Turn To Surgery

Snoring can have some severe health and relationship consequences. If you know that you snore, or if your partner tells you that you snore, take it seriously. It could mean that you have something as serious as sleep apnea, or could also signify another health problem. Even if you do not have a medical reason for snoring, it can interfere with your life and your relationship. Here is a look at the differences between snoring and sleep apnea, and when you should consider surgery.

What is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is funny in cartoons and television shows, but in reality, it can be downright annoying and potentially dangerous. The snoring noise occurs when you cannot get enough air while you sleep. There are many reasons why you might snore, from narrowed airways to bad sleep posture to unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that is usually caused when throat soft tissue relaxes and blocks or collapses your airway. If you have this condition, you will snore and even stop breathing while you sleep. As a result, you will frequently experience fatigue during the day, headaches, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Unless you have a partner who has witnessed your sleep apnea episodes, you might not even realize that you have this medical condition.

Most people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Only by scheduling a doctor's appointment can you definitively tell whether or not sleep apnea is causing your snoring.

Why is Snoring Such a Big Deal?

Snoring is a serious problem. It is the number one medical reason why couples get divorced. Beyond the social and relationship ramifications, snoring also dramatically increases your risk of dying. If you snore, your risk of suffering from a heart attack increases by 34%, and your risk of dying from a stroke increases by a whopping 67%.

Treatments That Can Save Your Life

If your doctor or sleep specialist determines that your snoring is not indicative of sleep apnea or another serious health condition, you can make some lifestyle changes that will reduce your honking. Many people who snore are overweight, so working towards a healthier weight can help you lose your snore along with your extra pounds. Quitting smoking and excessive alcohol can also improve your nighttime breathing. If you sleep on your side or stomach instead of on your back, you can also prevent disruptive snoring.

If your doctor confirms that you have sleep apnea, however, you should take your treatment even more seriously. Popular treatments, like CPAP machines and UAS therapy, are often ineffective in treating sleep apnea.

Surgery for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

There are a variety of surgeries available that can relieve your sleep apnea and even save your life. Most of these treatments, called "upper airway surgeries," target the area in your airway that is causing your troubled breathing. Some of these surgeries are up to 100% effective in treating sleep apnea.

If you have very severe snoring but do not have sleep apnea, surgery can still benefit your health and your relationship. Many insurance policies will not cover surgeries intended to treat snoring alone, but compared to the cost of losing your relationship or feeling sleepy all day, it is often a justifiable expense. If you think you might have sleep apnea or need help getting a handle on your snoring, visit a health clinic like Entira Family Clinics.