Approximately 45% of adults snore occasionally, and 25% are habitual snorers. Men and people who are overweight are often the worst offenders, and you may snore more as you age. Loud snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which pauses in the breath frequently interrupt sleep. Ear, nose, and throat specialist, Dr. Donald Burt, diagnoses and treats sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Contact his office in Gilroy, California, for a consultation, or make an appointment using the online booking agent.
The noisy sounds of snoring occur when there is an obstruction of the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway, where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate. Snoring occurs when these structures vibrate and strike each other during breathing.
When you experience frequent interruptions to your sleep because of obstructed breathing along with loud snoring, it’s known as the sleep disorder, sleep apnea. You may have anywhere from 30 to 300 of these pauses per night. Breathing pauses last at least 10 seconds and usually awaken your or disturb your sleep cycle.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. Another less common type of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to control breathing during sleep.
These frequent interruptions in sleep can reduce blood oxygen levels, so your heart has to pump harder. You may experience only light sleep, and your muscles stay tense to keep air flowing to the lungs.
Sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, which interferes with daily function and work. After many years of with living with sleep apnea, you may develop elevated blood pressure and an enlarged heart.
Surgery can resolve sleep apnea. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a surgery that tightens flabby tissues in your throat and palate and expands air passages.
Thermal ablation palatoplasty is a group of treatments that treat chronic snoring and various severities of obstructive sleep apnea. These include cautery, laser, and radiofrequency treatments.
Dr. Burt also performs coblation procedures, which removes the obstruction in the airway, and radiofrequency ablation, which uses a needle electrode to shrink excess tissue in the upper airway, including the palate and uvula, the base of the tongue, or nasal area.
A CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure device, is a viable, nonsurgical treatment for sleep apnea. This machine delivers pressurized air into your airway through a mask that you wear while sleeping.
Contact Dr. Burt’s Gilroy office or make an appointment with the online booking agent.