White Rock ENT


Snoring Problems

Dangers of Snoring

Get Help For SnoringTemporary conditions such as allergies, head colds, sore throats and a wee bit too much spirits are all common causes of occasional snoring. While this type of snoring may be disruptive, it is rarely a cause for concern. Chronic snoring, however, can be a symptom of something far more serious.

Chronic snoring occurs every night regardless of the sleeper's position and independent of any other health issues. Often times chronic snoring is so severe that it totally disrupts the sleep patterns of everyone in the household. That's because severe snoring is both relentless and can be quite losud. The classic snoring sound is created by vibrations of the soft palate (roof of the mouth), throat, uvula (that little flap of skin that hangs from the roof of the mouth), tonsils and adenoids.The loudest recorded snoring ever measured was an ear-splitting 90 decibels. To put that into perspective, normal human conversation is about 40 decibels, city sounds range from 60 to 70 decibels and a jet plane on full afterburner hits 110 decibels!

Besides sleep deprivation, chronic snoring has been proven to be the cause of serious health problems. Dr. David Earnest, associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine said "If you look at the statistics, sleep disorders are one of the leading causes of institutionalization in the United States".

Chronic snoring is responsible for higher risk of stroke, certain forms of diabetes, elevated blood pressure and heart disease. Chronic snoring may be a symptom of "sleep apnea" which is a breathing obstruction caused by a collapsing of the soft tissues of the mouth and throat when the muscles of the neck and mouth begin to relax. Sleep apnea sufferers may wake up hundreds of times per night in order to start breathing again. If you or someone in your life is suffering from chronic snoring then a physical examination by a doctor is in order. An otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor is best qualified to diagnose the problem. After examining your mouth and throat, the doctor may have you participate in a laboratory-based sleep study for further diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, the chances are your doctor will prescribe a device called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. This resembles an oxygen mask that is worn when you sleep. The mask is connected to a hose and an air pump which delivers a constant flow of air pressure through your mouth and nose. This is designed to counteract the vibrations caused by snoring. While the CPAP is the most commonly prescribed treatment, it is not always well tolerated. Other surgical and non surgical treatments do exist including dental appliances, palate surgery, and maxillary and mandibular advancement.

A new surgical alternative called the "Pillar Procedure" consists of having a doctor insert three tiny woven inserts into the soft palate which helps to reduce the vibration. According to Dr's Jennifer Jordan and Dwight Lee, of Dallas Texas based White Rock Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, this is a painless procedure which they can do right in their office. This procedures eliminates the need for the CPAP and all of the related misery that it causes.

Snoring is an inconvenience. Chronic snoring and sleep apnea can be life-threatening. Don't fool around with something that is so relatively easy to treat. If you suspect you have a problem, see your doctor right away.


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