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Learn More About Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Below you will find answers to questions we frequently receive. Patients at Snoring Austin in Austin and Lakeway, Texas find this information helpful. Should you need further assistance, please call us at (512) 339-4040, and we will happily answer your questions.

What is snoring?

Snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes throat tissues to vibrate during sleep.

What causes snoring?

Snoring sounds are most commonly caused by vibration of soft tissue in the back of the throat. The soft palate and uvula typically vibrate secondary to excessive tissue or partially obstructed airflow.

Is snoring serious?

Although snoring may lead to poor sleep for the patient and the bed partner, it is not considered medically serious. However, snoring can also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which can have significant medical consequences.

What are the risk factors for snoring?

  • Being overweight
  • Having a nasal obstruction
  • Being an active smoker
  • Using alcohol, sedatives, or muscle relaxants
  • Sleeping flat on your back

Is there anything I can do at home to improve my snoring?

There are some lifestyle changes you can make to help improve snoring. You can:

  • Lose weight
  • Treat nasal allergies and sinus congestion
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit alcohol and sedatives
  • Sleep on your side and elevate the head of your bed

Can snoring be treated in my doctor’s office?

Depending on the underlying cause, there are many nonsurgical options for snoring. Simple office procedures include injection snoreplasty, Pillar implants, turbinate reduction, and reduction of the uvula.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a more serious medical condition caused by complete obstruction of breathing for periods of time while asleep. The obstructions can last 10 seconds or longer, and each episode decreases oxygenation in the blood.

How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?

Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study. During an overnight stay at a sleep lab, instruments will measure how often and how long the patient stops breathing, as well as how significantly these episodes decrease blood oxygenation.

What causes obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by complete obstruction of the airway. Soft tissues in the back of the throat, including the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue, can fall back and obstruct the airway. Nasal obstruction can aggravate sleep apnea.

Is obstructive sleep apnea serious?

Obstructive sleep apnea can be a significant medical problem. It has been associated with hypertension, congestive heart failure, stroke, and significant daytime fatigue, which increase the risk for accidents.

What are the typical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?

First line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is often a trial of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). If this is not tolerated by the patient, treatments for obstructive sleep apnea will require surgical intervention depending on the underlying cause.

Common procedures performed for sleep apnea include nasal surgery for any nasal obstruction, tonsillectomy for any significant tonsil enlargement, and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to reduce the excess soft tissue in the back of the throat.

What is CPAP?

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a machine that blows humidified air through a mask on the nose or face. This airway pressure helps to keep the soft tissues from falling back and obstructing the airway. While CPAP is very effective at reducing sleep apnea, many patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the apparatus.

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