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Snoring treatment

Non-invasive snoring treatment options

Let’s face it, no one likes sitting next to a snorer on an airplane, or even worse — sleeping next to one night after night. This rough, hoarse noise that plagues approximately 90 million American adults can be very disruptive to the snorer, a spouse, or anyone else in the room.

Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissue of the upper airway. When this tissue goes slack, it vibrates even more. Elderly and people who are overweight are usually more prone to snoring because they have more of this extra tissue in the back of their throats.

There are several things you can do on your own to help stop snoring. Lifestyle changes can go a long way in resolving this problem.
Four non-invasive ways to tackle a snoring problem:

1) Lose weight - Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce the fatty tissue in the back of the throat that causes snoring. 
2) Keep airways open - Using decongestants, a Neti pot or nasal strips can relieve stuffy noses that create a vacuum in your throat. 

3) Avoid drinking alcohol, especially before bedtime - Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat thereby interfering with breathing.

4) Don’t sleep on your back - Gravity makes it more likely for your tongue and soft tissues to drop and obstruct your airway, so sleeping on your side is the better option.

“If your own efforts to stop snoring do not help, the next step is to consider a snore guard which resembles an athlete’s mouth guard,” said Aris Iatridis, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at Piedmont Physicians Georgia Lung. “This custom-made piece helps open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep.” 

Snore guards can be purchased from a dentist or even online. They typically run between $300 and $700, and are not covered by insurance. 

If a snore guard does not bring relief either, Dr. Iatridis says there are more invasive procedures that can increase the size of your airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities. Consulting an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist or an otolaryngologist would be the next step. 

Walter James, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist with Piedmont Heart Institute, believes snoring often goes hand in hand with sleep apnea. 

“Many of the patients I see with a snoring problem actually have sleep apnea. This can easily be treated with self-treatment methods as well as using a CPAP machine, which blows air to the back of the throat, keeping the airways open.”

Sleep apnea is a greater medical concern than snoring. It may occur in as much as 20 to 40 percent of adult snorers. Patients with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have a 3 percent risk of stroke and heart attack. Therefore, it’s important to get to the root of the matter if snoring is disrupting your sleep.

Piedmont offers sleep medicine services at its Atlanta, Fayette, Henry, Mountainside and Newnan campuses. 

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