Snoring & OSA

Snoring is common and, in many cases, relatively harmless.  It is estimated that 40-60% of men and women will snore sometime in their life, especially if they become overweight, smoke, drink alcohol, and/or take anti-anxiety or sleeping pills.  Light snoring is usually a minor annoyance for those around you, at worst.   Loud and habitual snoring can disrupt your sleep and be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is a more serious sleep disorder.  Essentially, if you are suffering from this, then you are suffocating in your sleep.  It is a disorder of interrupted breathing during sleep due to the collapse of the airway from the relaxation of the pharyngeal and tongue muscles causing an obstructive event.  Half of snorers have OSA but, interestingly, half of OSA suffers do not snore.  OSA is often noticed by the bed partner or family member. The most common sighs are:  loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep; and excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue.  Other signs are:  morning headaches; memory or learning problem; irritability; lack of concentration; mood swings or personality changes; depression or anxiety; dry or sore throat; teeth grinding; frequent night time urination; and sexual impotence.  Children with OSA may experience the following:  bed wetting; choking or drooling; learning and behavioral disorders; and poor school performance.  OSA can lead to high blood pressure; stroke; heart attack; and diabetes. 

OSA is diagnosed by a sleep study.  This is performed either by a Polysomnogram (PSG) at a sleep clinic or a Home Sleep Test (HST).  Most people now prefer the HST, since it can be done at the convenience of your own home and bed.  The device is shipped to your house via FedEx with instructions.  You wear it for 3 nights, then call for a pick up by FedEx.  The recorded information will be downloaded and a pulmonologist will make a diagnosis.

After a diagnosis is made, you will be advised on your treatment options.  If you are diagnosed with OSA, the most common treatment option is a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).    It is a mask you wear at bedtime over your nose and mouth that an air blower forces air through to maintain the airway.  Unfortunately, many people find it intolerant.  Different surgical procedures may also be advised.  Another conservative option is the MicrO2 oral appliance.  It is classified as a mandibular advancement appliance (MAD) and holds the lower jaw forward to prevent the tongue from closing off the airway.

So if you or your bed partner suspects OSA or snore; download the Patient and Snoring & OSA forms; fill them out; call and make an appointment with Dr. Terrell; and we will set you up for a home sleep test.   If you have been diagnosed with OSA and find the CPAP not tolerable, let us know and we will see if the MicrO2 is the right choice for you.

Follow this link to OSA and Snoring Forms