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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:

  • Irritability
  • Sleepiness and a lack of energy throughout the day
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • 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:

  • Septoplasty
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Adenoidectomy
  • Tonsillectomy (most commonly performed on children)