Movies and cartoons make snoring seem like a funny trait, and they often use it to inject humor into their plotline. But snoring is a serious condition that can lead to some troublesome health complications.
If you or the person in bed next to you has a snoring problem, come visit our experienced team at Southwest Family Medicine Associates in Dallas, Texas. We offer a simple way to stop the ruckus and improve the sleep and health quality of everyone in your household with NightLase®.
Why do I snore?
We get this question a lot, and we’re glad you asked.
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues at the back of your throat block your airways. As air struggles to get in and out, it pushes forcefully past those structures and causes them to vibrate and rattle — that’s the sound of snoring.
So, what’s causing those tissues to block your airways? It could be any of several culprits:
- Sleep position
- Nasal problem
- Enlarged turbinates
- Nerve disorder
- Excess alcohol consumption
While some of these issues are temporary and easily resolved, others are health issues you may need help overcoming. The most common health-related cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
How snoring affects your health
Anyone who sleeps next to a snorer feels the effects of lost sleep. But the one making all the noise suffers, too. Although snorers may seem to be sleeping soundly, there's more than meets the eye, especially when OSA is to blame. Over time, heavy snoring and sleep apnea cause your health to deteriorate, putting you at risk for:
- Heart disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Irregular heart beat (arrhythmias)
- Mental health issues
- Weight gain
Another side effect of poor quality sleep linked to OSA and snoring is daytime drowsiness, which can lead to accidents and injuries.
When the structures in your mouth and throat interfere with your ability to breath at night, you can try a few different solutions.
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine consists of a mask connected to a bedside machine that ensures you get enough oxygen throughout the night.
A mandibular advancement device is an oral appliance that fits into your mouth and keeps your lower jaw in a forward position to keep your airway open.
But if you’d like to ditch the mask and mouthpiece, we have an alternative solution — NightLase®. Here’s how it works.
Your NightLase treatment consists of two phases: preconditioning and tissue strengthening.
In the preconditioning phase, the painless laser light preheats the tissues at the back of your throat and prepares them for the next phase. The next step emits the Er:YAG energy from a small device so it can penetrate your skin and stimulate the tissues below.
Our experienced laser technician, Cheryl McLeod, controls the energy pulses so they target precise locations and preserve the delicate tissues in your mouth.
The gentle heat triggers a response that tightens the tissues and effectively shrinks them, leaving more space for air to flow as you sleep. Most people report an improvement immediately, but you should expect to have at least three 20-minute treatments to get the full effect.
We can tell you firsthand that our patients are thrilled with the results, and clinical evidence backs that up. One study showed that nearly 98% of the study subjects who tried laser therapy to resolve their snoring were satisfied or very satisfied with the results. In many patients, NightLase also reduces the symptoms of OSA.
If you snore loudly — or know someone who does — contact us at Southwest Family Medicine Associates by calling our friendly staff ro requesting an appointment online today. You could be breathing easier this summer.