Snoring can be an indicator of other health problems


Ear nose and throat specialists Dr. Luke Burke with Memorial Hermann Hospital and Dr. John Craddock with Rosewood ENT provide advice on how to decrease snoring and why it should be treated as no laughing matter. Snoring can have a number of causes, but is mainly seen in individuals who are obese; allergy sufferers; patients who have had sedatives, such as alcohol or drugs; or those who have nasal airway abnormalities, such as large tonsils or a bulky tongue. "Individuals who take any kind of sedative medication or drug that decreases the muscle tone in their throat, especially in the palate, can have an increased snore pattern at night," Craddock said. In adults, 70 percent are unaware that they have sleep apnea, which is connected to snoring, and may experience fatigue when awake due to decreased oxygen intake while they sleep. Long-term effects include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or pulmonary hypertension. Over-the-counter medications, such as Breathe Right strips, Flonase and Nasacort AQ, if someone has allergies, can help keep nasal passages open and decrease snoring.

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