Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Description
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Snoring and the associated problem of obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can result in severe complications in up to 2-4% of adult patients. These complications include stroke, and heart attack. Snoring in and of itself causes problems for the snorer , such as high blood pressure. Also the significant other in the bedroom loses sleep or gets poor sleep.

People are supposed to sleep quietly and without effort. Air is breathed in through the nose, passing past the nasal septum and inferior turbinate bones, then the back of the nose, the soft palate, the tonsils, base of tongue, larynx including the epiglottis and vocal folds, and finally into the trachea and the lungs. Any of these sites could be the source of the obstruction. Collapse of the airway can result from fast breathing, excess pressure from obesity, and poor breathing technique. So – to put it simply- it is complicated! The best physician for treating this problem is the Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon. Proper History and Physical Examination of all these sites is imperative for proper treatment.
Recommendations
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In children, the diagnosis is usually made from history from the parents. It has always been my opinion that Mom’s are the smartest folks on the planet. They know their children. Rarely is a study required.

Adult patients who complain about snoring need referral to a quiet Sleep Lab. It is still difficult at this time to rule out Sleep Apnea by simple history/questions/ physical exam. However- after the sleep study is found to be positive- sending the patient for a sleep mask without proper exam risks poor compliance. For example- It is impossible to use nasal CPAP breathing machine if you cannot breathe through your nose!

The ENT Doctor (otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon) will examine your nose, mouth, throat, and will often use a flexible fiber optic scope to examine your entire airway, before making any recommendations. Genetics are also very important. This means the facial bone structure the patient has, the relationship of the chin to larynx (voice box). This is why traditional snoring operations yield only a little better than 50% success.

In essence- if you or your partner snores- come see us.

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