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When to See a Medical Professional About Snoring

Jun 20, 2024
When to See a Medical Professional About Snoring
You snore. You gag. You feel like a bag of wet cement in the morning. If snoring disrupts your sleep, or if you don’t feel rested after 7-9 hours in bed, you could have a sleep-breathing disorder that’s life-threatening. Here’s when to seek help.

About 45% of women and men snore at least once in a while. About a quarter, however, snore so often that it disrupts their sleep or a partner’s sleep.

If you snore, something obstructs your breathing at night. It could be a stuffed nose or a deviated septum. Or it could be that your throat tissues collapse when you lie on your back.

Snoring isn’t just an annoyance to you or your partner, however. It can be a sign of a serious sleep breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 

At Advanced Medical Care in Queens and Brooklyn, New York, our team takes sleep medicine seriously and offers both at-home and in-office sleep tests to determine if you have OSA. Although you may think of snoring as an innocuous habit, untreated OSA increases your risk for:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Accidents
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Untreated OSA deprives your organs — including your heart and brain — of the oxygen and nutrients they need to remove toxins and rebuild damaged cells. Rather than a nuisance, your snoring could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition

So when is snoring a problem? If you experience any of the following, contact us for a sleep study and OSA evaluation.

You gasp for breath at night

When your snores are so loud that they wake you up, or if you gag or choke at night, you probably have OSA or another type of sleep apnea. “Apnea” is a word with Greek roots that means “without breath.” Without breath, there’s no life. If you’re gagging and gasping for breath at night, you’re not breathing the life-giving oxygen your body needs.

While it may seem abstract or even comical to think that you could die from snoring, it’s no joke. Celebrities such as Carrie Fisher, John Candy, and NFL player Reggie White suffered heart attacks that were related to OSA. 

You’re sleepy during the day

If you’re asleep for the recommended 7-9 hours per night, you should feel rested and refreshed when you wake up. If you feel sleepy and groggy after a supposedly good night’s rest, however, you could have OSA.

With OSA, your brain wakes you up multiple times a night to get you breathing, which disrupts your normal sleep cycle. You may never be able to get into a deep state of sleep, which is when your body is able to repair and rebuild its cells.

Daytime sleepiness also drastically increases your risk for an accident, especially a car accident. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,400 deaths each year in the United States. Many other auto-crash related injuries are also linked to drowsy driving.

You have trouble thinking

If you have trouble maintaining your focus or remembering facts, you may think that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or worry that you’re developing dementia. If you also snore and have disrupted sleep, your OSA may be at the root of your cognitive difficulties.

Over time, though, untreated OSA can lead to dementia and other cognitive problems. Treating OSA can reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Your partner complains

When your snoring is loud enough and frequent enough to disturb your partner, it’s worth your time to have a sleep study done. Chronic snoring may be caused by mild OSA that nevertheless could put your health at risk.

You may spend the night at our offices in order to undergo a sleep study. And we also can give you a take-home test that measures your blood oxygen levels and keeps track of how often — and for how long — you awaken during the night.

If you do have OSA, the sooner you start treatment, the better it is for your safety and overall health. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine opens up your airways and provides a constant flow of oxygen so your brain, heart, and other organs get the life-giving breath they need.

Find out if your snoring and your health would improve with OSA treatment. Contact Advanced Medical Care today to schedule an appointment for professional, individualized care.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.