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Snoring and OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea)

WHEN DO I SEEK MEDICAL CARE FOR SNORING?

When snoring becomes disruptive to the snorer and /or the people around him, or if OSA is suspected, medical advice should be sought.

An examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate and neck should be performed. This should include a flexible nasopharynolaryngoscopy by an ENT surgeon.

A sleep study may be required to exclude OSA.

IS SNORING SERIOUS?

Snoring may be disruptive to family life- it may cause other family members sleepless nights.

Snorers become unwelcome on vacations and on business trips.

It may disturb sleeping patterns of the snorer himself, so that he may not sleep restfully.

Snoring may be associated with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), when loud snoring is interrupted by frequent episodes of totally obstructed breathing.

Sleep is severely disturbed, and daytime sleepiness may occur. This excessive daytime sleepiness may occur while driving a motor vehicle, or at work.

OSA may also be associated with high blood pressure.

If OSA is suspected, you may need a sleep study (polysomonogram) to confirm the diagnosis.

CAN SNORING BE TREATED?

Most snorers can be helped. For adults who are mild snorers, the following measures may help-

1) Lose weight

2) Exercise regularly- this helps to develop good muscle tone

3) Avoid tranquilisers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines

4) Avoid alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of retiring for the night

5) Avoid heavy meals within 3 hours of retiring for the night

6) Establish regular sleeping patterns

7) Sleep on your side rather than on your back- try sewing a pocket on your pyjama-back to hold a tennis ball- this may help to avoid sleeping on your back.

TREATMENT

This will depend on the diagnosis. It may be as simple as managing nasal allergies or infection. Surgically correcting a nasal deformity, or removing the tonsils and adenoids may be required.

The snoring may respond to the use of a mandibular advancement splint device.

Some individuals may respond best to an operation to tighten the tissues of the palate and the back of the throat,

Some patients, especially those with OSA, may respond best to sleeping with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, which prevents the tissues in the throat from collapsing inwards.
If CPAP fails, or is not tolerated by the patient, various forms of surgery may be helpful- this varies with individual patients, and depends on the site of obstruction.
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Every child who snores should be thoroughly examined. Most children will improve following a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

YOUR CONSULTATION
If you think you suffer from snoring and/or OSA, and would like help, please book an appointment by calling 031 201 3118.
At consultation, a complete history will be taken, to ascertain whether the problem is just snoring, or whether you may have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). This consultation should include your bed partner, who may be able to give a description of you sleep pattern.
Examination includes endoscopy of the nose and throat, to ascertain any areas of narrowing which may be responsible for the snoring

The treatment prescribed will depend on the history and examination findings. You may initially need a sleep study to check if you have OSA- a sleep study can be arranged through my practice, and can be done in your home.



















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