The Disruptive Snorer
Is there a snorer in your house? Whether it’s you, your partner or your child who is doing the snoring – it can disrupt the entire family’s sleep.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s partnership with ENT & Allergy Specialists (ENTAS) is the answer to your household’s snoring situation. Our specialized staff of physicians and audiologists can treat the full spectrum of sleep apnea in both children and adults.
Sleep apnea in children
Children with sleep apnea often have symptoms such as open mouth breathing, restless sleeping, loud snoring and enlarged tonsils. These symptoms impact their quality of sleep each night. When children don’t get restful, restorative sleep at night, they are at a higher risk for hyperactivity and focus problems. It also can lead to daytime fatigue and even behavior problems at home and school.
If snoring is an issue for your child, our team of ENTAS physicians can help. We will isolate the source of your child’s snoring and recommend a treatment plan. In 90% of children, removing a child’s tonsils and adenoids is completely effective in eliminating the child’s snoring for good.
Tips for the Mild Snorer
If you are a mild snorer, the following self-help remedies could help for both children and adults:
- Exercise/be active regularly.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
- Lose any extra weight.
- For adults, avoid alcohol four hours before bed.
- Avoid heavy snacks three hours before bed.
- Sleep on your side (avoid your back).
- Incline the head of your bed four inches.
- Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it.
Sleep apnea in adults
Sleep apnea can be more complicated in adults. A variety of factors can contribute to adult snoring, including:
- Poor muscle tone in the tongue and/or throat.
- Bulkiness of throat tissue.
- Nasal airways that are obstructed.
- Long uvula.
- Long palate.
- Deviated septum or similar nose deformity.
Many times, snoring can occur due to allergies, chronic sinusitis or obstructed nasal airway. This snoring can be interrupted by frequent episodes of obstructed breathing, which is called obstructed sleep apnea. These episodes can last longer than ten seconds and happen many times each night, reducing blood oxygen levels and making the heart work harder. Severe sleep apnea can cause depression, weight gain, inability to function and can even shorten a person’s life if left untreated.
The team at St. Elizabeth and ENTAS can help. We will diagnose the cause of your sleep apnea and customize a treatment plan specifically for you. Most often, adults will undergo a sleep study so our team has a full understanding of your symptoms and overnight sleep behavior.
Treatments for adult sleep apnea include weight loss, a mandibular advancement device or wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask while sleeping. Surgical treatments are more intensive and are not universally effective for adults. Our team of ENTAS physicians will help guide you through your treatment options and decide what is the best fit for your lifestyle. If necessary, the physicians at ENTAS can refer you to the St. Elizabeth Sleep Disorder Center for further testing and treatment.
STOP-BANG Sleep Apnea Questionnaire*
If you are concerned that you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, the STOP-BANG Sleep Apnea Questionnaire can give you a quick starting point to determine if there’s a problem. Answer YES or NO to the following questions and tally your score at the end.
- S – Snore – Do you SNORE loudly? (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
- T – Tired – Do you often feel TIRED, fatigued or sleepy during the daytime?
- O – Observed – Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep?
- P – Pressure – Do you have or are you being treated for high blood PRESSURE?
- B – BMI more than 35 kg/m2?
- A – Age: over 50 years old?
- N – Neck circumference > 16 inches (40 cm)?
- G – Gender: Male?
STOP-BANG Questionnaire Scoring
If you scored 5-8 YES responses >> you have a high risk of sleep apnea. If you scored 3-4 YES responses >> you have an intermediate risk of sleep apnea. If you scored 0-2 YES responses >> you have a low risk of sleep apnea.
* STOP-BANG Sleep Apnea Questionnaire (Chung F et al Anesthesiology 2008 and BJA 2012)
To learn more about how ENTAS can help your snoring or sleep apnea issues, please call us at (859) 781-4900 to make an appointment. ENTAS physicians and the St. Elizabeth Sleep Disorder Clinic teams will work together to create an individualized plan to address the cause of your sleep disorder.
If a sleep study is necessary or if you would like more information about scheduling one, please visit our website or call (859) 757-2927. A physician referral is required for an appointment at one of our four Sleep Disorder Centers in the Northern Kentucky area.