NYC Snoring Diagnosis & Treatment
When we sleep, our throat muscles relax and if the airway is blocked when air tries to pass through, snoring occurs. Snoring is very common and occurs at least occasionally in almost half of all adults. Snoring can be brought on by nasal congestion, alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, or simply the anatomy of your mouth. If your tonsils are enlarged, your airway can be narrower and vibrate more when air tries to flow through. Being overweight can also contribute to a narrowed airway.
You may not be aware that you snore unless it is brought to your attention by someone else. Your snoring may disrupt your proper sleeping patterns as well as your partner’s. Heavy snorers may suffer from sleep apnea, a condition in which sleep is frequently interrupted by periods of completely obstructed breathing. These periods can last up to 10 seconds at a time.
If you are a chronic snorer, visit our NYC ear nose and throat practice for diagnosis and treatment. Dr. David Volpi is a board-certified otolaryngologist with over 25 years of experience performing the latest, minimally invasive ENT procedures to treat snoring, sleep apnea, and other ENT conditions in New York City. As one of the leading snoring and obstructive sleep apnea specialists in the country and the founder of eos sleep, a nationally-recognized sleep center, Dr. Volpi is highly qualified to diagnose and treat your sleep disorders. Learn more about snoring below, or request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get a better night’s sleep!
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when there is a narrowing of the air passages in the nose, throat or mouth. When obstructions restrict the airflow, it causes negative air pressure. This leads to snoring due to the vibrations of the soft tissue.
The causes of snoring can vary and will depend on whether the snoring originated in the mouth, throat or nose. The general contributing factors of snoring include:
The soft palate extends from the roof of the mouth to the back of the mouth. The uvula, an extension of the soft palate, is the ball that hangs down in the back of the throat. If the soft palate is too thick, long, or floppy or if the uvula is enlarged, it can cause obstructions in your throat and narrow your air passages. Another source of obstruction that can cause snoring is either a large tongue or large tonsils.
Congestion can narrow the nasal cavity and play a substantial role in your snoring. Enlarged turbinates, a deviated septum, enlarged adenoids or nasal polyps can all obstruct airflow and increase nasal congestion.
Excess weight may affect your breathing and play a role in your snoring. Extra weight around the throat and neck, particularly in people with a neck circumference of more than 17 inches, can narrow the airway and make it difficult to breathe.
Alcohol consumption and eating late at night
Drinking alcohol before bedtime can relax the throat muscles and increase the likelihood of snoring. In addition, late-night eating contributes to snoring. When the body doesn’t have enough time to digest food properly, the food will sit within your stomach at night and put pressure on your diaphragm, resulting in snoring.
What are the symptoms of snoring?
Snoring deprives the body of proper rest and it is a treatable medical condition. A chronic snoring problem can be detected in people who experience one or more of the common symptoms, aside from the audible sounds of snoring.
Not only does snoring affect those who personally suffer from the condition, snoring can disrupt the sleep of loved ones. This can add strain to relationships and even drive bed partners to sleep in separate rooms.
Snorers may experience:
- Trouble concentrating
- Irregular heartbeat
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Sore throat
- Daytime sleepiness
- Restless sleep
- High blood pressure
What are the snoring treatment options?
For many people, snoring can be treated with minimally invasive procedures. As these procedures are routinely performed in an office setting, patients are able to return to normal activity within the same day. The treatment options will depend upon the source and location of your obstruction(s).
For those who experience heavy snoring, and possibly sleep apnea as well, there are several treatment options available:
CPAP, also known as the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, is a non-invasive treatment option typically prescribed as the first therapy method to treat airway obstruction(s). At night, the machine works to increase air pressure in the throat, allowing the airway to remain open when you breathe. Many patients find the CPAP mask uncomfortable and they schedule an appointment with Dr. Volpi to learn about the alternative treatment options.
These devices fit like an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouth guard; at night, patients wear an oral appliance to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. Dr. Volpi will often prescribe these devices to treat airway obstructions(s) which cause snoring and sleep apnea.
Using radio frequency energy, the ENT surgeon stiffens the soft palate to reduce vibrations and snoring intensity. The palate coblation procedure is minimally invasive and performed in a single office visit under local anesthesia.
During the Pillar Procedure, Dr. Volpi will insert small implants into the soft palate to reduce the intensity and loudness of snoring. This procedure is a highly effective snoring treatment, and most patients experience a fast and easy recovery.
Coblation Turbinate Reduction
This procedure is an effective treatment option for those suffering from sinus-related snoring and sleep apnea. Coblation Turbinate Reduction reduces the size of nasal turbinates using radio frequency energy. Patients experience continued relief from nasal airway obstruction.
Using state-of-the-art laser technology, this procedure shrinks the size of an enlarged uvula. As the treatment area in the mouth heals, patients experience a significant reduction in snoring intensity.
Laser-assisted Tonsil Ablation
In order to open up the airway, this procedure reduces the size of the tonsils using laser technology. With precision and control, Dr. Volpi minimizes damage to surrounding tissue in the throat, resulting in faster recovery times for his patients.
This inpatient surgery treats the intensity and loudness of snoring due to uvula and soft tissue vibrations. When the reduction procedure is ineffective, this surgery aims to to remove excess soft tissue of the palate and the uvula.
A tonsillectomy is the removal of enlarged tonsils, allowing the airways to open up. This procedure is typically performed in an outpatient surgery center under general anesthesia.
Can I treat my snoring without surgery?
Light snoring may be improved through activity or lifestyle modifications, especially if it is of a casual nature. The following may help your snoring:
- Clear your sinuses – Before your nasal congestion or allergies become too severe, seek treatment to clear any nasal obstructions.
- Avoid alcohol, eating late at night and sleep aids – If you have trouble sleeping at night, it may help to increase your activity rate during the day.
- Sleep on your side – Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to fall back into the airway and cause obstruction to your breathing.
- Diet and exercise – By shedding extra body weight, many people improve their symptoms.
Am I a candidate for a minimally invasive office procedure?
If you do not see a positive effect on your snoring from the recommendations outlined above, then you are most likely a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure.
Is snoring life-threatening?
Chronic snoring may be a symptom of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea causes you to temporarily stop breathing while you are asleep. Strong evidence suggests that OSA increases the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack; it can also increase your risk of dying early. Snoring is an early warning sign that something is wrong, and it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. If OSA is left undiagnosed and untreated, your quality of life and health can be seriously impacted.
What doctor is best for treating snoring?
The best doctor for treating snoring is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) who specializes in treating patients with snoring and sleep apnea conditions. Dr. Volpi is a board-certified otolaryngologist and has over 25 years of experience treating sleep patients. Not only will he provide you with the most comprehensive treatment options, he will tailor a treatment plan that will address the root cause or causes of your problem.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Volpi today.