There are so many topics I want to post about on sleep sometimes it’s difficult to choose just one. Today I want to talk about something extremely common – snoring. Snoring is so ubiquitous that oftentimes people never mention it to their doctor, feel concerned about it, or consider it detrimental to their health.
I think one of the reasons snoring is ignored is because the person doing it is unaware it is happening. In many cases, until a bed partner records it, a person can be completely unaware it is happening.
Snoring is never “normal.” Snoring indicates there is high resistance airflow in the upper airway and is often a clue to more significant airway collapse or sleep disordered breathing.
Chronic snoring can present with vague symptoms such as sore throat, dry mouth, “sinus” headaches, globus sensation, and postnasal drip.
Snoring is associated with risk of hypertension and diminished sleep quality. And when associated with sleep disordered breathing it carries risk for cardiovascular disease.
Many doctors are trained to think of snoring and sleep apnea as breathing conditions, but as a neurologist I think of it as a neuro-degenerative condition when treated in the early stages prevents many of the negative consequences.
Nowadays there are some incredible approaches to treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP has improved tremendously even during my career, there are some amazing dental options being used, and surgical options are becoming more technologically advanced.
In most cases the best place to start is with a consultation with a board certified sleep specialist and home sleep apnea testing. Home sleep apnea testing has become incredibly accessible and easy to use. In my practice in most cases I am able to give my patients results within a few hours of completing their test.
The let take away message is do not IGNORE snoring, it is often a sign that when addressed can make a huge difference in long term health and well being!
Do you think of snoring as “normal?”