sleep apnea medical ID

Kerri

National Stop Snoring Week: A nuisance or a health problem?

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In March, we celebrated Sleep Awareness Month on our My Identity Doctor United States blog, and the importance of sleep on our health. Now that we have reached the last week of April, it’s National Stop Snoring Week here in the UK! Often, we see (or hear!) snoring as just another nuisance—after all, it is irritating when your partner or hotel roommate is a snorer, isn’t it? However, snoring can be a sign of other medical issues—or, nothing at all—so it is important to get checked out!
I have two stories of people in my life who have seen a doctor about snoring, and each hpillows-1031079_640ad different results—this is why snoring is nothing to brush off, however, also nothing to lose sleep over! (Okay, bad pun!)
A couple years ago, a friend was at a tournament sharing a room with other athletes and his coach. The coach was also a doctor, and he told my friend that during the night it had sounded as if his breathing was stopping, and that he should see someone to get evaluated. My friend had a sleep study done, and it was determined that his snoring and breathing issues were caused by sleep apnea. For about two years now, he has used a CPAP machine at night, and no longer has scary attacks when he wakes up after not breathing. A bonus to this? He also does not snore anymore—I was surprised as well, just how very quiet his CPAP machine is! It is even quieter than a central heating or cooling system kicking in!
Several years ago, someone I know finally went to the doctor about her snoring after years. She was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (ENT), who after a quick physical examination of her throat, simply informed her that she has an enlarged uvula (which hangs down from the top of the “soft palate” in the mouth—if you reach your tongue back you may be able to feel your soft palate!). This is not in itself dangerous, but it means that her airway becomes narrower during sleep causing snoring. The doctor said that there was no guarantee surgery would help, and sent her on her way—simple as that!
Other causes of snoring include sinus issues which may be easily treated with nasal sprays, or even simply your sleeping position, in which case your doctor may recommend a mouth guard of sorts or a jaw strap to keep your jaw better aligned to prevent snoring. So, snoring may not always be a sign of something sinister, which means it is important to get things checked out! If you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, medical ID jewelry can be important—but in all cases, it is important to get snoring checked out, for peace of mind and a better night sleep!
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