Snoring can be more than annoying – it can signal health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea. Experts at the USC Sleep Medicine Program are studying the causes and treatments for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, discovering new ways to help you get a good night’s rest.

How do you know if you’re just snoring or if it’s sleep apnea?

You may have obstructive sleep apnea if you are constantly tired or irritable or if you wake up with headaches. You might also wake up with a dry mouth or have trouble staying awake during the day. If you have these symptoms or ever wake up gasping for air, you should visit your physician – there is a chance you may have obstructive sleep apnea.

Why You Snore

Snoring occurs when tissues in your throat relax, vibrating and causing sound. Many factors can increase the chance of snoring while you snooze. Age, obesity, sinus or nasal congestion, smoking, alcohol and certain medications may all be causes. Men are also more likely to snore. Sleeping on your back can also trigger snoring.

Loud, disruptive snoring can disrupt the sleep of those around you, but sleep apnea can be more serious. With obstructive sleep apnea, there is blockage of breathing that may wake you up hundreds of times during the night, gasping for breath – and you may not even realize it. When combined with obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea can cause other serious health problems.

Is it Sleep Apnea?

A sleep expert can evaluate your symptoms to determine whether you have obstructive sleep apnea or another disorder. Typically, you will undergo a sleep study in a sleep laboratory or at home to monitor your breathing patterns, oxygen levels and heart rhythms.
With an accurate diagnosis, snoring and sleep apnea can be successfully treated – and you can rest easy.

Make an Appointment

Don’t snore your health away. If you suspect you may have snoring, obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, contact the experts at the USC Sleep Medicine Program of the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Request an appointment online, or call (800) USC-CARE.

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