I snore. I snore REALLY bad. My snoring is the kind of snoring I make fun of my 58-year-old father for – the rattle the house, hear me down the street, wake up the dogs, snoring.
Ladies do not snore; old men snore.
It’s not a pleasant sound, and the thought of catching some z’s in front of company makes me cringe because I don’t want anyone to know my horrible, awful, embarrassing secret.
Needless to say, I am fed up. I turned to Diana C. Go, MD, Pediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Banner Desert Sleep Center, for some more information on health risks of snoring and how to squash this nasty health habit.
Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and mouth during sleep,” said Dr. Go. “It is very common and affects about 90 million Americans.
So what causes snoring?
According to Dr. Go, snoring typically occurs when the muscles that keep the airways open become too relaxed, obstructing air flow. Any condition or substance that promotes muscle relaxation can have this effect. Including:
- Drinking alcohol
- Sleeping on an overly soft pillow
- Sleeping on your back
- Taking medications such as sleeping pills or antihistamines
- Being overweight
“Another cause of snoring can be from throat or nasal deformities, such as an excessively long soft palate or a deviated nasal septum,” explains Dr. Go.
After running through that list and realizing that I do not sleep on my back, drink alcohol on a regular basis, take medications or have excess weight, I decided to go see Cheryl MacKechnie, MD, Otolaryngology at Banner — University Medical Center‘s Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic for a consultation.
Much to my dismay, I learned that I have a deviated septum. A deviated septum is a condition in which the nasal septum (the bone and cartilage that the divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half) is significantly off center or crooked.
So what are my options?
Dr. Go let me know that there are many minor changes you can make that may have an effect on your snoring. Some include, change your sleeping position, lose weight, avoid alcohol, change your pillows and opening your nasal passages.
A more intensive approach for me would be sinus surgery to adjust my deviated septum and therefore would potentially get rid of my earth-quaking snore. The surgery (Septoplasty) is performed entirely through the nostrils. During the surgery, badly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely or they may be readjusted and reinserted into the nose. After surgery nasal packing is inserted to prevent excessive postoperative bleeding.
I don’t think I am quite convinced to take the plunge to get the surgery just yet. So for now, I’ll work on sound proofing my bedroom.