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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Annoying and more often than not, disruptive, snoring is the most common problem affecting more than 90 million Americans of both genders and all ages.
The National Sleep Foundation says 37 million Americans snore on a regular basis.
More than an annoyance, snoring is body’s way of telling you something is wrong, according to doctors. It has many causes and the trick is to find out why you snore, which is difficult.
♦ David and Lori
Keller couple, David and Lori know about the problem all too well.
“In the middle of the night, I can hear what sounds a little bit like a chainsaw going off,” David said.
Her snores are loud, which concerns David more than his sleep disruption.
“The underlying thing is the health issues,” he said.
The couple has tried almost every remedy and treatments offered.
“… Prescription steroid sprays, pillow mist, it is a mix of essential oils,” Lori said as she showed CBS11 a bag full of treatments and devices used to stop snoring. Nasal strips, ear plugs, diffusers and all sorts of mouth guards that promise to treat the problem were in the bag.
But nothing worked for them
♦ Doctor’s Advice
Dr. Sherif Al-Farra at the or University or North Texas Health Science Center said snoring happens when the airway collapses or closes up.
“Almost all patients with sleep apnea snore,” he said.
Sleep Apnea happens when the person actually stops breathing briefly during sleep. It’s a condition doctors said can lead to heart disease, stroke and even death.
Lori’s doctors recommended she take a sleep study. Once hooked up to sensors, which recorded her every sound and move as she tried to sleep, Lori happily obliged at Health Science Center’s sleep lab.
“I am hoping to find some answers as to what physically may be causing me to not get a good night’s sleep,” Lori said.
♦ Sleep Study
A few days after the sleep test, Dr. Al-Farra told Lori she had sleep apnea, something her husband David was very worried about.
She stopped breathing on an average of 46 times an hour, which stunned Lori. But despite the less-than-favorable results, Lori is relieved to know the cause of her snoring.
Dr. Al-Farra said snoring occurs when the airways are narrowed but with sleep apnea, a patient’s airways are completely closed. Dr. Al-Farra said while sprays, surgery and even mouth guards can help with snoring, the key is to first identify the cause of the problem, which can be anything from allergies to polyps.
Sometimes treating snoring without understanding the cause can mask symptoms of a serious condition like sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea patients often snore loudly, have a dry mouth in the morning and wake up feeling tired.
Now, Lori has to wear a CPAP machine which will help open up her airways. “Added benefit is that it will also eliminate snoring,” Dr. Al-Farra said.
Dr. Al-Farra said snoring has many causes. Sometimes allergies, polyps even the structure of the jaw, nasal and throat passages can cause snoring.
Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and limiting alcohol intake can help reduce snoring as well.
There are a number of free apps a person can use if snoring is a concern. While it won’t give the cause of snoring, it will record snores and analyze them.
CBS11 tested one app called Snore Lab, which records all sounds while sleeping and create a snore report. That report takes into account the percentage of time a person snores, how loud they were and a number of stops and starts.
Finally, as always, check with your doctor and share your report with them to determine the cause of your snoring.
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