Most of us are guilty of snoring every once in a while, but if you find yourself snoring every time you sleep, you may be suffering from chronic snoring. Chronic snoring isn’t just an annoying habit that you and your partner have to deal with. It can cause serious health problems if left untreated. Dr. Majzerski at Align Orthodontics in Grand Rapids has 15 years of experience both treating chronic snoring using oral sleep appliances as well as using the device himself. Keep reading to learn why snoring treatment is so important.
What Causes Snoring?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 37 million Americans are frequent snorers. There are many different causes of snoring. Some are more serious and long-lasting than others. Determining what’s causing your snoring and how frequent it actually is will help Dr. Majzerski provide treatment that is just right for you.
The root cause of all snoring is obstructed airways. If the air you take in through your nose or throat has trouble traveling smoothly, you’ll have snore as the air pushes its way through. Some of the causes of obstructed airways include:
You may notice that you or your partner only snore when they’re sleeping on their back, or on a specific side but not when you’re sleeping in a different position. This is called “side-dependent snoring”. This isn’t a serious issue, which is good news for you. Once you’re aware of the problem, you can train yourself to sleep in a different position and fix the snoring problem.
You probably weren’t told that snoring might be another part of growing older to look forward to, but it’s true. As you age, the muscles in your throat and neck can behave differently in your sleep they may relax more than they used to, making them more likely to vibrate when you inhale. The way your sleeping habits change as you age can also affect snoring. You may start sleeping in a different position, which also puts your airwaves in a different position. Even if you didn’t experience frequent or chronic snoring when you were younger, it’s not uncommon for issues to develop later in life.
Alcohol and Medication Use
While an evening glass of wine or scotch may help you relax and get to sleep easier, it can also contribute to snoring. Alcohol can be a strong muscle relaxer, and when your throat muscles are more relaxed, it’s more likely for them to vibrate and cause snoring. Taking a muscle relaxer before bed can have the same effect. If alcohol or medication use is the cause of your snoring, the simple solution is to stop using them. If this fixes your snoring, you most likely don’t need to worry about the more severe complications of snoring.
Nose and Throat Conditions
This cause of snoring is more serious, but it’s not difficult to correct. Problems like a deviated septum, nasal polyps (soft growths that line the insides of the sinuses), or even swollen or congested sinus from a common cold or sinus infection can cause you to snore either because your airways are blocked and you’re having to work harder for the same amount of breath, or you are breathing through your mouth when you wouldn’t otherwise. When you’re breathing through your mouth, enlarged tonsils, or adenoids can block your airway and cause snoring.
The Dangers of Snoring
In addition to the less serious and easily treated causes of snoring, there are some serious causes and complications that can come from chronic snoring. One of the most common and concerning conditions associated with snoring is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). An OSA episode is when your airway completely closes and pauses your breathing. Your body will usually jolt you awake for a few seconds to correct the problem. You probably won’t notice or remember each time you wake up, even though it may be happening between 5 and 30 times each hour.
To accurately diagnose sleep apnea, Dr. Majzerski and your primary care physician will look for the following symptoms:
- Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Morning headaches.
- Sore throat upon awakening.
- Restless sleep.
- Gasping or choking at night.
- High blood pressure.
- Chest pain at night.
- Your snoring is so loud it’s disrupting your partner’s sleep.
- In children, poor attention span, behavioral issues or poor performance in school.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can have daily and long term consequences. On a daily basis, you may notice daytime sleepiness, frequent frustration or anger, or difficulty concentrating. Since you’re waking up throughout the night, you aren’t getting quality sleep, and it will negatively impact your day if the same way staying up into the early morning hours would.
Serious long-term health issues include:
250% higher risk of a fatal heart attack. Obstructed breathing means that less oxygen is circulating through your body for a third of your life. This puts a lot of strain on your heart and arteries. This increased stress poses a much greater risk of failure.
67% greater chance of developing a stroke. Much like the risk of heart failure, the lack of oxygen circulating through your body increases your chance of stroke significantly.
40% greater chance of developing high blood pressure. The sudden drops of blood oxygen levels that happen as a result of OSA can increase blood pressure and put added stress to your cardiovascular system.
Grand Rapids Snoring Treatment.
If you’re looking for snoring treatment in the Grand Rapids area, Dr. Majzerski at Align Orthodontics can provide easy and effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and chronic snoring from other causes. We provide oral sleep appliances that are so easy to use that you’ll actually use them! These devices are proven to help you sleep better. Dr. Majzerski has personally used them for 15 years, so you can trust his expertise, and trust that he understands what you’re experiencing.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you get a good night’s sleep.
*Some information used was gathered from the Mayo Clinic and the National Sleep Foundation.