Snoring (cont.)

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What are different levels of snoring?

Mild resistance to airflow for any of the above reasons in the upper airways may result in some snoring that is not associated with any sleep disturbance.

If resistance to airflow increases, the efforts to maintain adequate ventilation and breathing may cause transient arousal from sleep that is typically not severe enough to cause the level of oxygen in the blood to decrease (hypoxia). This is called the respiratory effort related arousal (RERA).

When the resistance increases even further, the ventilatory efforts cannot keep up with the degree of resistance to maintain adequate levels of oxygen, and airflow decreases or stops. This often leads to a decrease in the level of oxygen in the blood. As a result, sleep becomes more fragmented and arousals more frequent. The events are referred to as obstructive hypopneas or apneas, and the condition is termed obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome.

How should someone with snoring be evaluated?

To thoroughly evaluate someone with a snoring problem, it is important to also talk to that person's bed partner or family members. A complete history and physical examination is often performed.

In addition, more detail about their snoring and sleep problems needs to be obtained. The patients may be asked about their sleep pattern and sleep hygiene, daytime symptoms of sleepiness, daytime napping, and frequency of awakening at night.

A thorough physical examination may also be performed including assessing the patient's body weight and body mass index (BMI), assessment of the neck circumference (area around the neck), and visualization of the throat, nasal, and oral cavities to determine how narrow the oral and nasal passages are.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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