is a common problem among patients. Snoring can be a primary disorder or it can be associated with sleep apnea
. Sleep apnea occurs when there are pauses in breathing at night. If you are concerned that your husband may have sleep apnea, it is important to discuss this with his physician. He may need to have a sleep study performed.
Snoring occurs from vibration of the soft tissues of the palate against the back of the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is apnea, or cessation of breathing at night, caused by anatomic narrowing of the upper airway. It is usually diagnosed by history and after a sleep study has been performed. During a sleep study the number of apneic episodes is measured per hour. About 5-10 episodes per hour suggests sleep apnea.
Sometimes snoring can be stopped with different positioning. Usually snoring is worse in the supine, meaning lying down, position. If your husband can sleep on his side you may notice less snoring. There are also nasal strips that can sometimes help to spring open the nose slightly and enough that the breathing through the nose improves so that snoring stops. This does not work for everyone. Using a couple of pillows to help elevate off the bed may also help to improve snoring.
It is important to discuss this with your husband's physician. Snoring alone is not worrisome, but if it is associated with sleep apnea, you should discuss this with your husband's physician.