Solutions for Snoring

Snoring Affects Health

People who snore heavily run a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, thus increasing their chances for heart disease or stroke. But the effects of snoring go beyond the health of the snorer, affecting the health and well-being of the snorer’s partner as well. Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that women who slept with snorers experienced an average of 26 awakenings per hour. These women slept less, losing up to 60 minutes of sleep each night. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, memory loss, accelerated aging, weight gain, irritability, reduced concentration and an increased risk for accidents. It also leads many couples to sleep in separate rooms.

Types of Snoring

Snoring, also known as sleep-disordered breathing, is a serious health problem that affects some 40 million Americans. The severity of snoring can range from mild (in which snoring is not a health threat) to a life-threatening condition known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). This condition is characterized by significant interruption of breathing during the night and may be associated with a decrease in blood oxygen levels, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, and may even cause sudden death. If you suspect you have OSAS, your physician may wish to arrange for a sleep study. OSAS should always be treated before seeking treatment for snoring. Most people who snore, however, do not necessarily have OSAS.

Surgery Is Effective

Before considering surgery, many snorers try to improve their lives through exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation, changes in diet and appliances for the nose and mouth. These changes can be very effective for some patients. For those whose well-being is not improved or who don’t like the hassle of sleeping with nasal or oral appliances, surgery become a viable and lasting way to improve their health and the health of their partner.

There is Hope

If you suffer from heavy snoring, there are surgical treatments available that can significantly improve your health and quality of life. No one procedure is considered the best, although somnoplasty and injection snoreplasty appear to have the most advantages. The severity of your snoring and discussion with your otolaryngologist (ENT) will help you decide which option is best for you.

Types of Surgery

  • Injection snoreplasty is a safe, painless and effective procedure in which medicine is injected into the soft palate of the patient’s mouth to reduce and stiffen the tissue. The procedure is completed in less than 15 minutes, is low-cost, and requires little to no recovery time.
  • Somnoplasty, or radio frequency ablation, is a safe procedure in which low-energy radio waves heat and shrink tissues at the back of the throat. This relatively pain-free treatment can be performed in the surgeon’s office under local anesthesia with minimal patient discomfort and essentially no recovery time.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) has been used for decades as the main surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Short-term results are effective, but long-term studies indicate a drop in effectiveness. The procedure is usually performed in an operating room under general anesthesia.
  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) was introduced in the 1980s as an alternative to UPPP. Performed in the office using local anesthesia, it uses a laser beam to tighten floppy tissue in the back of the mouth. It is more painful than newer procedures and is now performed infrequently.
  • Cautery-assisted palatal stiffening operation (CAPSO) has the advantages of simplicity, low cost and the necessity of only a single session. However, it does produce more pain and may require several days to recover.

Are You Suffering From Sleep Apnea?

  • Do you snore?
  • Are you unhappy during the day?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you wake up with headaches?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Are you irritable or fatigued or do you have difficulty concentrating?
  • Do you find it hard to stay awake while driving, watching TV, reading a book or attending a meeting?
  • Do you ever wake up choking or gasping for air, or have a skipping or racing heartbeat during the night?
  • Has anyone watched you sleeping and told you that you hold your breath or snort loudly, gasping for breath?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact your physician to arrange an evaluation and sleep study.

To Arrange an Appointment

Please contact your primary care physician if you think you have a form of disordered breathing during sleep. Your doctor can refer you to our Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, Throat) Department for detailed diagnosis and effective treatment. 

For more information, call us at 541-685-1755.

Sleep Disorders Center at Sacred Heart Medical Center
Visit the Sleep Disorders Center Web site to learn about common sleep disorders, sleep studies and to learn about our board–certified sleep specialists.