Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring is a phenomenon so common that most of us pass on that issue on the agenda. But we need to remember that all types of snoring are associated with some breathing difficulties and, therefore, the snoring person may experience morning headaches, constant fatigue and sleepiness during the day, and concentration difficulties. These problems have a huge impact on the quality of life and efficiency of daily functioning.


In some cases, snoring is one of the signs of a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is diagnosed on the basis of an all-night study (polysomnography). Sleep of a patients with OSAS is disturbed by repeated breaks in breathing (apnea), which are the cause of pathological sleepiness during the day.


Distant consequence of sleep apnea is the accelerated development of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and other diseases with systemic character. Each loud snoring person and especially the one whose family observed episodes of pauses in breathing during sleep, should seek for professional medical advice.


There is no single, equally effective for all patients, method of treatment of apnea. Qualified for surgery are patients with impairment of airway.


The most common treatments include:


  • correction of deviated  nasal septum (septoplasty)
  • correction of nasal turbinates (konchoplastyka)
  • nasal endoscopic surgery
  • plasty of the soft palate and / or throat (uvulopalatofaryngoplasty)
  • adenoid removal surgery (Adenoidectomy)
  • surgery to remove tonsils (tonsillectomy)


The appropriate method is selected individually for each case.


Many patients require correction of various sections of the respiratory tract and treatment is then spread out in several stages . Between all stages of treatment we perform control polysomnographic examination, in order to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. Some patients in whom there is no indication or there are contraindications for surgical treatment is directed to conservative treatment. These people use breathing devices during sleep.


Regardless  the method used in each case, EVERY patient diagnosed with apnea should :


  • reduce body weight (diet, physical activity)
  • give up smoking and drinking alcohol
  • carefully follow the instructions on the treatment of comorbidities (hypertension, coronary heart disease, hypothyroidism, etc.)


Jaroslaw Balcerzak, MD