DR. DONALD JOHNSON: What is snoring?

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The cause of snoring

Itís the vibration of the soft tissues in the back area of the throat. That causes snoring. Simple, right? But itís a huge problem. The airway becomes constricted by the collapsing tissue which speeds up the airflow. Kind of like putting your thumb over the end of a hose with the water running. And, of course, women also snore, contrary to common belief. 59 percent of people say their partners snore! And, if you snore, youíll be really noisy, sometimes up to 85 dB which is similar to a chainsaw.

But isnít snoring harmless?

Letís look at the health risks of snoring. Many of us snore, over 90 million in the US alone. And that includes those who deny snoring!! One of the risks is related to the relationship between the snorer and their partner. The partner usually becomes irritated, having to put up with loud snoring every night. That means the partner has a sleep disorder also. They begin to have daytime tiredness because their sleep is interrupted so many times at night by the snorer!

What is the effect?

Constant loud snoring causes rifts in relationships between the partners. In many cases, partners sleep in different rooms. So, besides the health problems, the snorers must put up with the intimacy issues brought about by snoring. Between 25 percent and 40 percent of couples sleep in different rooms because of the loud snoring. The snorerís partner usually loses sleep (up to 2 hours) and can grow irritable/resentful. Some use earplugs and/or white noise generators. Others can be abusive with the elbow in the ribs. The frustration over the snoring noise that this causes can begin to affect the relationship on a much deeper level.

50 percent are disturbed every night by their partnersí snoring. 33 percent of partners report relationship problems because of the snoring. Some even call it a form of tortureóand it really is.

Why do you snore?

There may be more than one reason. Are you overweight? Get on a weight loss program. Do you sleep on your back? Get a device that will keep you off your back at night (ZZOMA). Are you over 40? Canít change that but can seek treatment. Do you have sinus problems? Get nasal congestion treated. Do you smoke? QUIT! Do you drink? Use moderation. But you must do whatever it takes to stop snoring!

See your dentist or physician

Snoring is the main symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and it must be treated or you will lose 8-10 years on average off of your life. And the only to find out if you have OSA is to have a sleep testóeither a home sleep test or an in-lab sleep test. Life is far too short to have something like snoring or OSA to be in the way. When you get your snoring and OSA treated, youíll be on the road to a happier, healthier relationshipóand youíll live longer.

• ē ē

Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur díAlene to help patients stop their snoring and live free with no limits! Obstructive sleep apnea is usually able to be treated with a small oral appliance. Dr. Johnsonís office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The website for more information is www.NWSleepDoc.com and the office phone is (208) 667-4551. Schedule a free consultation appointment today!

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