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Question: Is snoring dangerous?

Answer: If you snore, you are certainly not alone. An estimated 88 million Americans snore their way through the night, and nearly half do so on a regular basis.  While this may be a common nighttime condition, the potential dangers of snoring should not be ignored.

“Snorers often sleep poorly and are tired during the day. They experience reduced alertness, which may result in an increase in traffic and workplace accidents,” explains Deborah Reed, nurse practitioner at the Sleep Wellness Institute, a Columbia St. Mary’s partner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders with offices in Mequon and West Allis. 

In some extreme cases, snoring is an indicator of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening disorder that causes a person to stop breathing while sleeping. “If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, impotence and even death,” says Reed.

In addition to the medical problems associated with snoring, it can put a strain on personal relationships, frequently forcing partners to sleep separately and family members to endure sleepless nights.

What causes snoring?
When you are awake, the muscles of the throat hold the throat open, so that air passes in smoothly as you breathe.

However, when you sleep, the muscles of the throat relax and sag inward.  For some people, this overcrowding results in narrowed or blocked airways. The tissue—soft palate, uvula and tonsils—relaxes and vibrates against the back of the throat during breathing to create the snoring sound. 

Can snoring be treated?
You may be able to curb snoring and get a good night’s rest.  Discuss these lifestyle changes with your physician:

  • Losing weight and increasing exercise to improve muscle tone
  • Quitting smoking
  • Sleeping on your side, not on your back
  • Limiting alcohol consumption and use of medication before bedtime
  • Using nasal strips, decongestants, antihistamines or nasal sprays

If these adjustments do not improve your snoring, consider making an appointment with a sleep expert at the Sleep Wellness Institute, Wisconsin’s only independent sleep disorders center fully accredited for adults and children by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The Institute and Columbia St. Mary's partnered in January 2011 to improve patient convenience, streamline study results and enhance the coordination of care for patients with sleep disorders in southeastern Wisconsin.

The partnership brings together the experience and expertise of six widely recognized physician specialists in sleep medicine:

Don Harden, MD, Medical Director
JoAnna Galezowska, MD 
Marc Rasansky, MD
Michael Conner, MD
Dima Adl, MD
Gary Leo, MD

Call The Sleep Wellness Institute today at 414-336-3000 to set up an appointment at either of its two Milwaukee-area locations:
 
2356 South 102nd Street
West Allis, WI 53227

11725 N. Port Washington Road
Mequon, WI 53092

 

Welcome to the Sleep Wellness Institute. It offers the most beds in southeastern Wisconsin.
Welcome to the Sleep Wellness Institute. It offers the most beds in
southeastern Wisconsin.

The sleep study rooms have a TV, private bathroom with shower and an adjustable air mattress bed.
The sleep study rooms have a TV, private bathroom with shower and
an adjustable air mattress bed.

The medical director analyzes your study and gives you the results in just a few days.
The medical director analyzes
your study and gives you the
results in just a few days.

 

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