Heavy snoring has been greatly regarded as a nuisance by spouses and roommates, a funny facet by friends and usually ignored or neglected by the sufferers themselves. Far from this, snoring causes sleep deprivation in both the sufferer and the bed companion. Sleep deprivation, in turn, leads to a variety of consequences, from daytime sleepiness to generalized fatigue and sometimes, complications such as hypertension and diabetes.
The physical root of bad snoring is usually a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder in which the inner walls of the throat and nose collapse when breathing at sleep, causing the person to stop breathing for short periods of time, usually about 10 seconds. This may happen several dozen of times a night.
The negative consequences of sleep apnea arise mainly from two reasons: although not being awakened by snoring, a person with sleep apnea gets significantly less sleep than normal. In addition, the oxygen supply in the blood is severely affected during the apnea episodes. This contributions to a general state of fatigue, but also affects the way the body regulates blood pressure. A consequence of this disorder is a longer-term development of hypertension, which leads to a dangerously elevated risk for heart attack and heart disease.
Even though obstructive sleep apnea is so common and its consequences are so serious, few people seek help and get proper diagnostic. In part, this is because it is widely assumed that health insurance plans will not pay for such studies and treatments. This used to be true in the past, but a general awareness among the medical community led the public health experts to take the issue seriously. As a result, Medicare has decided to cover the costs associated to diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
What to do? It is simple. If you know or suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, either because you are aware of that or your spouse is having a hard time, go see your doctor. He or she will ask questions and decide whether a diagnostic test is necessary. In such case, you will be subject to a 'Polysomnography', a procedure that monitors your parameters while sleeping. night at this place, and the operators will test you.
Should you be diagnosed with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea , your doctor will prescribe a device called Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP), a mask that gently blows air into your nose while you sleep, preventing obstruction from occurring. Both the polysomnography and the CPAP devices are covered by Medicare.
Knowing this, you should consider seriously about talking to your doctor if people refer to you as the "snorer".