My otherwise healthy 49-year-old husband snores unbearably! It used to be occasional, but has increased to practically every night, almost constantly. I refuse to be one of those couples who sleep in seperate beds, but my nights on the couch are reluctantly increasing. His snoring doesn't seem to affect him during the day, at all. Is apnea always associated with snoring? I believe it's time to send him to a doctor. Should we start with an Ear, Nose, & Throat specialist? I'd appreciate any remedies we could try until a hopefully permanent solution can be suggested!
Not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea - but the risk increases in snorers. Does he ever stop and start or snort as if his breathing is interrupted?
Personally, I would not start at an ENT. I would start with having any doctor order a sleep study or refer him to a sleep doctor. They will be open to any and all solutions, whereas a particular specialist could naturally be inclined to their specialty's method of addressing the problem. Research the different treatment options carefully before making any decisions.
If he were to have sleep apnea, he could be accruing damage that is just not manifested yet. Some early signs are the blood pressure and blood sugar starting to creep upward. Your health is being harmed by his snoring - that's not a good solution. Protect your sleep or you'll end up being no good to anyone, even yourself.
Use whatever sway you may have to influence him to get a sleep study. If he does have sleep apnea, he is at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If he refuses, make the other bedroom your sanctuary - with no guilt.
Until he gets a study, there are some practical things you can do. Place blocks or risers under the head of the bed, or roll up a comforter and place it across the head between the mattress and box springs. Don't just use more pillows - that can make it worse if he slides into wrong positions. And keep him off his back.
Hopefully your spouse is reasonable - some are not since they are not the ones hearing their snoring every night. Good luck.
Mamapete3, for medical advise you MUST go to a doctor. Self diagnosis and medication is rarely a good idea. But, here are a few things that might help.
First - get tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It's a potentially fatal sleep disorder and only a sleep specialist can determine if your husband has it. Treatment can include using a CPAP machine, which isn't a lot of fun but it can save a life. My cousin is an ENT doctor who has a specialty practice in sleep disorders. I'm an RN in a major hospital that has a sleep center. My husband snores. What I know about snoring is because of my work environment and because both my husband and cousin's wife snore, and from what my cousin and the doctors at work tell me actually helps people. And what they all say is that nothing is likely to stop ALL the snoring all the time.
Second - your mileage is going to vary a lot about using any non-surgical snoring aids-same really with the surgical procedures too. Some people love the nose strips, sprays or mouth devices. For way too many others, including us, these don't work that well or they don't work at all. We have a drawer of mouth pieces, tape, strips, sprays, etc. My husband has tried the popular nose strips and has a dentist-fitted mouthpiece, none of it helped him. Surgery does work for some people, not so much for others.
Third - is your husband overweight? That is often a causative factor in the development of chronic snoring or even obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But so is age and the general state of health. Are you middle age or older? Many people tend to snore more and more loudly the older they get. And your health, particularly respiratory/nasal/sinus condition is also a major factor. If you have allergies, smoke, live in a house with pets, or work in a polluted city, etc... any or all these can also contribute to poor respiratory health , allergies, and also snoring.
My husband did not start loud snoring until about 10 years ago, he's 56. Over the past several years, we have tried just about every snoring aid we could find, including the tapes, strips, clips, exercises, sprays, nose strips & nasal inserts, mouth pieces, anything advertised on TV or those sponsored ads on Google.
There are two basic ways to reduce the snoring: surgery or over-the-counter approaches like the nose strips, etc - and honestly, anybody who tells you that their product can stop all snoring is lying to you. That's just not going to happen. You can reduce the snoring, sometimes by a lot. But if you breathe through your mouth, which is the cause of about 85% of non-apnea snoring according to the experts, you are probably going to snore.
My husband did look into getting the pillar surgery but as I said, my cousin is an ENT specialist and I work in the local clinic and hospital that takes care of people with respiratory problems. We considered that surgery might be an approach (but not a "solution"), however it is surgery and we'd rather try non-invasive things first. Surgery is probably the most expensive approach and for some people it works great. My cousin does a lot of surgical procedures and he says that maybe 60% of the patients really see a lasting improvement. They still snore, but not as much or as loud. But he also says that many of those patients have to come back within a year for more tweaking, as he calls it. Most of the people that we know who have had the surgery in our area have told us that they wish they didn't.
My cousin's wife also snores and he refuses to operate on her, so that tells me all I need to know. What we learned from my cousin and authoritative sources such as the FDA's web site, WebMD, Mayo and others is that most non-OSA snoring in adults is probably due, at least in part, to breathing through the mouth while asleep, especially if he sleeps on his back, and this may be because the snorer can't breathe that well through the nose. If you want some pretty good general information about snoring, there are a few sites that have some pretty honest information: this one, the FDA web site, sleepapnea.org, one, WebMD, Mayo, The putanendtosnoring.com and www.snorender are also sites that we really found informative, although they sell snoring aids too. My husband actually has the snorender and it's the only thing we've ever found that actually does help reduce his loud snoring. He sleeps on his back and won't wear a shirt with a tennis ball sewn into the back (yes, I've even tried that).
One thing that you really need to check on any health web site is does it have the HON certification (www.hon.ch). This is the international foundation that evaluates and certifies web sites that have health information, particularly those that have complementary or alternative healthcare information and products. If it isn't HON-certified, I'd be pretty cautious about what's on the site.
The most important thing that you and your husband should do is get him sleep tested for OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). While I feel that non-invasive approaches are generally better (IF they work), I don't want you to think that I'm minimizing the potentially fatal consequences and seriousness of OSA, or the critical need to get tested if you snore loudly or have symptoms of sleep apnea such as daytime sleepiness, interrupted breathing while asleep or other symptoms. But, like with so many other medical conditions, my cousin and I sometimes think that just maybe some over-diagnosis might possibly occur from time to time in the medical industry.
Some people snore less once they have their tonsils and adenoids removed. For other, it makes no real difference whether they have them or not. Of course, some people snore through their noses (nasal snoring). That's tougher to control without some kind of surgery. My cousin and most of the ENT specialists that I work with do recommend that their patients at least try using some kind of nasal irrigation regularly (a couple times a week, not necessarily every night) to help improve nasal breathing and clear the sinuses before they consider surgery. One of the hospital doctors told me about the chin strap that my husband uses and the doctor who recommended it has one himself. One of them told me about the snorender because he noticed that I was always tired. When I mentioned my husband's loud snoring, the doctor told me that he has one himself. My cousin sometimes uses it in his practice for patients who don't want or can't have surgery (cardiac problems, for example).
If your husband doesn't have the more common symptoms of sleep apnea (just go to the sleepapnea.org web site for more information), then my advice is tonight wait until he starts snoring and see if it's because his mouth is open. That may not be the root cause of his snoring - he may have nasal blockages or something like that. But if, like my husband, he snores because his mouth is open, then you can try chin tape first (he did, it irritated his skin something terrible), or he can try one of those cheap TV advertised mouth pieces (he couldn't stand the excess saliva it caused and it gave him bad TMJ pain), or go find a chin strap to keep his mouth closed so you can get some sleep. Maybe this will be helpful to somebody. I know from first-hand experience and from what my cousin the ENT says how hard loud snoring is on relationships, health, marriage and family.
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