Sleep apnea could cause snoring. The Department of Otolaryngology at Singapore General Hospital discusses the risks and treatments.
Sleep Apnoea (Sleep Apnea) and Snoring
Risks associated with sleep apnoea
Studies have shown that untreated sleep apnoea increases the risk of:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart attack
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Sudden death
- Premature death in the long run
"Surgical procedures for the treatment of snoring may include nasal, palatal, jaw, tongue and neck surgery, depending on the tissues that cause you to snore." says
Dr Toh Song Tar, Senior Consultant,
Department of Otolaryngology, & Deputy Head (Research) & Director,
Sleep Disorder Unit,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) – UPPP and variations of this procedure are commonly performed to remove excess tissues in the back of the throat and palate to increase the width of the airway.
Nasal surgery – Removal of bone, cartilage or enlarged tissues interfering with breathing during sleep can encourage normal breathing through the nose and improve obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Hypopharyngeal and base of tongue surgery – When the obstruction stems from the base of the tongue, a surgeon can either increase the airway size or alter the tongue size or tension.
Maxillomandibular advancement surgery – Reserved for severe sleep apnoea patients when all else fails, this procedure involves moving forward the jaw and face bones to give the tongue more room and open up the airway.
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea, you will benefit from the use of an apparatus supplying
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
CPAP therapy involves wearing a pressurised mask over your nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to a small pump that forces air through your airway to keep it open. Although effective in eliminating snoring and treating sleep apnoea, the device may require some getting used to.
Doctors will also recommend lifestyle changes, including good sleep hygiene, weight loss, limited alcohol intake and smoking cessation. Another option could be the use of a dental splint, which resembles an athlete’s mouth guard and is worn during sleep to open up your airway by bringing forward your jaw and tongue.
Read on for simple remedies on how to stop snoring.