Sleep Apnea & Snoring

snoringThe link between snoring and sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition in which a person’s breathing pattern is interrupted multiple times during the night. It affects men and women of any shape, size, or age—not just overweight men. Sleep apnea is an ancient problem that can have severe effects on relationships, energy level, and cardiovascular health, to name a few. Loud snoring is strongly associated with sleep apnea. If you snore and have daytime fatigue, sleep apnea may be the cause.

“Normal” snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so people who simply snore are less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day. Also, women with sleep apnea are much less likely to snore than men, so snoring alone is not a determining diagnostic for the condition. Feeling unrefreshed after sleep is a good indication that you may have a sleep disorder, which can be determined by a sleep study. There are two types of sleep apnea:

The harmful effects of snoring

Snoring can put great strain on relationships. A snoring problem often creates not only tiredness but also frustration and resentment between couples. It can interfere with sexual and emotional intimacy, and can push couples to sleep in separate bedrooms.

More experience means more options

Until recently there were few remedies to choose from. Sleep centers became factories where patients would receive diagnostic testing and would be sent home with a CPAP machine. Patients visiting a dental sleep center would get an oral appliance. And, if you saw a surgeon, your only treatment option would be surgery.

At Chicago ENT, we offer you all those treatment options, plus other minimally invasive and highly effective solutions including:

Dental appliance
Palatal stiffening
The Pillar Procedure
Elevoplasty
Nasal valve repair
Inspire Therapy
Nonsurgical tonsil reduction
Radiofrequency coblation
Robotic-assisted procedures

If you or someone you love suffers from snoring and/or sleep apnea, it’s important to see one of sleep specialists to rule out serious underlying medical conditions. In the meantime, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your snoring.

Take the sleep apnea quiz

Does your bed partner complain about your snoring?
Do you or your bed partner often feel tired during the day?
Do you or your bed partner have trouble focusing at work?

If you or your bed partner can answer “yes” to any of these questions, it may be an indication of sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea typically snore and are at increased risk for weight gain, fatigue, hypertension and impotence.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of snoring
  • Male gender -men are more likely to snore and have sleep apnea than women, although snoring in women increases after menopause
  • Overweight
  • Nasal congestion
  • Enlarged adenoids and tonsils
  • Using alcohol or sedatives
Symptoms & Signs:

  • Sound sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Disrupted breathing
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Dry throat
  • Impaired sexual function
  • Irritability, mood change
  • Daytime sleepiness

The devastating potential of sleep apnea

If you snore, then you already know the effect it has on your relationships and how it has made you less productive at work.  But you should know that sleep apnea can also cause serious health complications, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Decreased mental function
  • Impotence
  • Heart attack
  • Increased risk of auto accident
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weight gain

Sleep-related blog posts

Videos on Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If you would like information on where to go for a sleep study, please click here.

If you have additional questions about snoring and sleep apnea, please click here for our FAQ.