Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Snoring

Feb 01, 2024
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Does your snoring ever wake you up? Or, worse yet, keep your partner from getting a sound sleep? This common occurrence may not seem like an issue, but it’s often a sign of a potentially serious problem. If you snore, here’s what you should know.

It’s hard to avoid snoring entirely, unless you never get a cold, allergies, or drink an extra glass of wine. However, when snoring becomes your “new normal,” your body is trying to tell you something.

The noise that comes with snoring always occurs for the same reason — vibration in the airway because of restricted airflow. However, the cause of the vibration can differ from person to person. In some cases, it’s completely harmless. 

But for approximately 30 million Americans, it’s due to a far more serious problem and life-threatening condition: sleep apnea. Yet only around 6 million people have a diagnosis. 

Now for the good news. 

Robert A. Scherrer, DMD, and his team can simplify the diagnosis and treatment process for sleep apnea at Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood

If you snore night after night, here’s why it’s time to schedule a consultation in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

How sleep apnea works

When you have sleep apnea, snoring occurs because soft tissue at the back of the throat blocks your airway. This reduces oxygen to your system — or stops it entirely for seconds at a time.

In response, your brain kicks into action, sending out an alert that there’s a problem. This forces you to gag, gasp, or emit an extra powerful snore so that you can get the air you need to function.

Then, the entire process starts all over and repeats throughout the night.

The dangers of sleep apnea

Since your brain gets you breathing again, it may seem like sleep apnea isn’t a problem. However, this condition causes your body to work far harder than necessary to get the oxygen it needs to function.

Without treatment, sleep apnea puts a severe strain on your cardiovascular system, increasing your chances of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and even early death. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It also puts you at risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and dementia. Plus, it’s hard to feel your best and perform in peak condition when you don’t get quality sleep.

Fortunately, you can effectively manage sleep apnea so you can keep your health on track and get your chronic snoring under control at the same time.

Diagnosing sleep apnea

In the past, you needed an overnight stay in a sleep clinic to learn more about your snoring. Now, the process is often much easier — and faster.

Dr. Scherrer can often diagnose an issue by reviewing your symptoms and examining your throat and neck. Then, he can determine if you’re a good candidate for an at-home sleep study or if you need more extensive monitoring in a sleep clinic.

Once Dr. Scherrer knows if sleep apnea is behind your chronic snoring, he can outline the best treatment strategy to help you breathe easier again.

Treating sleep apnea

In many cases, mild sleep apnea symptoms often improve with lifestyle changes, like weight loss, smoking cessation, and limiting alcohol consumption. Dr. Scherrer could also suggest sleeping aids, nasal sprays, or adjusting medication usage.

For moderate to severe sleep apnea, Dr. Scherrer could suggest additional interventions, like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices or oral appliances. These items work to keep the airway open while you sleep.

Finally, some sleep apnea cases respond best to surgery. These procedures often involve removing excess tissue or correcting structural issues at the back of the throat.

Has your snoring turned into a chronic problem? Make sure it’s not putting your health at risk. Contact Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood to schedule a sleep apnea consultation today.