Sleep-Disordered Breathing & Snoring
Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) refers to a collection of conditions that are characterized by insufficient inhalation while sleeping. Common conditions of sleep-disordered breathing include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)
Snoring is a hoarse sound produced by the nose or mouth when breathing is partially obstructed during sleep.
What Causes Sleep-Disordered Breathing & Snoring?
Sleep-disordered breathing and snoring is caused by an overrelaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat, causing a blockage in the airway.
What Symptoms Are Associated with Sleep-Disordered Breathing & Snoring?
Although symptoms vary from patient to patient, the most evident signs that someone is experiencing sleep-disordered breathing and snoring include:
- Sleepiness and a lack of energy throughout the day
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Night sweats
- Sore throat and dry mouth after waking up
- Frequent urination throughout the night
Many of these symptoms can go undetected by the patient but are usually noticed by others.
How are Sleep-Disordered Breathing & Snoring Diagnosed?
An individual can be diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing and snoring after being evaluated during a polysomnography, an exercise used to monitor several physiological parameters while a patient sleeps.
How are Sleep-Disordered Breathing & Snoring Treated?
There are a number of methods and practices that are widely used in treating sleep-disordered breathing and snoring.
In some instances, practicing the following lifestyle changes can alleviate symptoms:
- Eliminating alcohol and caffeine
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding the use of certain sleeping pills
- Losing weight
- Sleeping on your side
You may also consult your primary healthcare provider to change medications that may cause snoring.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) is another form of treatment for sleep-disordered breathing and snoring, designed to improve sleep quality. This method involves the use of devices such as:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – a machine that is set at one pressure
- Bi-Level PAP – a machine that uses one pressure for inhaling and a second pressure for exhaling
- Auto CPAP and Auto Bi-Level PAP – a device that regulates air based on pressure requirements determined by the machine
- Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) – a non-invasive device designed to keep the airway open
In more serious cases, the otolaryngologist at Tampa General Hospital often treat chronic sleep-disordered breathing and snoring by performing the following surgical procedures:
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
- Tonsillectomy (most commonly performed on children)