Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Find out more about Snoring & Sleep Apnea services.

Snoring is a widespread affliction that interferes with sleep and can be a sign of something more serious. Nearly half of all adults snore at least occasionally, with 25% considered habitual snorers. It is most common in males, those over the age of 40, and individuals who are overweight – but can affect anybody, even children.

Snoring is not just an annoyance; it can cause daytime drowsiness, affect your focus and concentration, and put a strain on your relationship – not to mention, it can indicate a serious health condition such as sleep apnea. With the Oregon Ear, Nose and Throat Center (OENT) physicians’ unique ability to assess the upper airway and identify the site(s) of obstruction, we can guide you to a better – and quieter – night of sleep.

Snoring occurs when the tissues in the nose or throat vibrate during sleep. This may be caused by a number of factors including obstructed nasal passages, poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, an unusually long soft palate or uvula, and excessively bulky throat tissue.

Habitual snoring can be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition characterized by frequent pauses in breathing throughout the night. This disrupts the natural sleep cycle, leading to insufficient rest, and can put a strain on the heart, which needs to work harder in order to pump oxygen through the body. If left untreated, this can put the patient at greater risk for a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes.

Snorers may awaken with a sore throat and experience excessive daytime drowsiness and difficulty concentrating. Their bed partner is affected, too, which often puts a strain on the relationship. If your snoring is loud enough to keep your partner awake, or if you wake up gasping or choking, it is important that you seek medical treatment to determine the cause of the problem.

Often, making changes to your lifestyle can reduce the severity of your snoring. Taking proactive steps like losing weight, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, sleeping on your side rather than your back, elevating the head of your bed, and establishing regular sleeping patterns can all help reduce snoring.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition characterized by pauses in breathing that occur repeatedly throughout the night. They may last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, and occur in conjunction with loud snoring. People with sleep apnea often feel tired during the day, since the quality of sleep they do receive is poor. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause a host of health problems if left untreated. When you quit breathing, your blood oxygen level drops; this raises your heart rate and increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. You’re also more prone to obesity and diabetes.

Treatment for snoring or sleep apnea depends largely upon the diagnosis, and the extent of upper airway narrowing. Options include:

  • CPAP (constant positive airway pressure) machine
  • Oral mouth guard to reposition the lower jaw during sleep
  • Surgery to remove excess tissue from the soft palate and enlarge the airway
  • Pillar implants (small implants inserted into the soft palate)
  • Thermal ablation (removal of excess tissue by cauterization, laser, or radiofrequency)

We look forward to helping you with your sleep apnea and snoring treatment.