Snoring is often seen as an annoying yet commonplace and even humorous situation. What few people realize is that chronic snoring is often an indicator of a much bigger, potentially deadly problem: sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that robs millions of Americans of quality rest each night and puts their health in jeopardy. Dr. Rick Coker provides effective treatments for chronic snoring to improve patients’ health as well as their sleep.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Sleep apnea is a medical problem that can be solved in Dr. Coker’s office in Tyler, TX. First, the patient must be referred to a sleep clinic to complete a sleep study, where a diagnosis of sleep apnea can be made (insurance often will not cover treatments for snoring unless the patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea).
Sleep Apnea and Snoring: What’s the Big Deal?
- Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea) or the brain fails to signal the muscles associated with sleep apnea (central sleep apnea). With either type, in order for you to begin breathing again, your brain must “wake up” to a certain extent. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night, preventing you from staying in deep, restful sleep.
- Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a wide range of problems, from trouble concentrating and irritability to heart attack, stroke, or falling asleep at the wheel.
- Even if you do not have sleep apnea, chronic snoring can be treated to prevent interrupting your partner’s sleep.
There are three ways to treat sleep apnea and reduce snoring.
- The main, tried-and-true solution for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which delivers a steady stream of pressurized air through a mask worn at night. The CPAP machine prevents the airway from collapsing, thus preventing snoring. This is the treatment used to treat central sleep apnea. It is not the ideal solution for everyone, however, as wearing the mask may become uncomfortable or inconvenient. Many patients will stop using the CPAP machine and search for a different solution.
- An oral appliance that moves the lower jaw or the tongue forward can be worn at night to prevent sleep apnea. This method can also be used to treat snoring that is not caused by sleep apnea.
- Patients who do not respond to a CPAP machine or oral appliance may benefit from surgery. There are a variety of surgical procedures that can remove tissues, tonsils, adenoids, and other obstructions to help open up the airway and prevent sleep apnea. Additionally, a Pillar Procedure can be used to stiffen the soft palate and prevent snoring.
If you or a loved one experiences chronic snoring, sleep apnea may be the cause. Contact Dr. Coker’s office to get a better night’s sleep with effective sleep apnea treatments.