Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring seems like a minor annoyance, but those loud sound effects may be a sign that you have a serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. ENT Dr. Arthur Katz diagnoses and treats snoring and sleep apnea at his offices in Munster and Merrillville, IN, and Olympia Fields, IL.
Why do I snore?
Snoring occurs when air doesn't flow freely through your nose and the upper part of your airway. If you have a cold or another type of upper respiratory infection, snoring usually stops when you recover. It can also occur if excess tissues in your throat narrow your airway, you have large tonsils or adenoids, or your throat muscles or tongue become too relaxed when you sleep and block your airway. You may also be more likely to snore if the soft palate in the roof of your mouth or your uvula is longer than normal. The uvula is the small piece of dangling tissue you see at the back of your throat.
When is snoring dangerous?
Loud snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea, although everyone who snores doesn't necessarily have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing many times during the night for several seconds at a time. The cumulative effect of those pauses deprives your body of oxygen. If you don't receive treatment for your condition, your chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and other health problems increases.
The pauses occur when your airway becomes blocked. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night gasping or choking, you may have sleep apnea. Gasping and choking are your body's attempt to restart your breathing. In addition to breathing pauses, other symptoms of sleep apnea include constant fatigue, morning headaches, weight gain, irritability, and depression.
How can a visit to my ENT help?
Your Munster, Merrillville, and Olympia Fields ENT offers treatments for both snoring and sleep apnea. Although treatment varies depending on the cause of your symptoms, it may include a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or oral appliance to keep your airway open while you sleep, minor surgery, or thermal ablation to remove excess soft tissues, or treatment to stiffen the soft palate.
Are you concerned that you may have sleep apnea? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Arthur Katz by calling (219) 934-9396 for the Munster, IN, office, (219) 769-8441 for the Merrillville, IN, office, or (708) 747-6900 for the Olympia Fields, IL, office.