I snore like a freight train every night, or so says my wife of 50 years. She's concerned I have sleep apnea. Should I see a doctor about it?
Indira Gurubhagavatula is a professor in the division of sleep medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
A: Snoring occurs on a spectrum. While some people have occasional, quiet snoring, others experience loud, habitual snoring nearly every night or on most nights. In the frequent-snoring group, snoring may be an indication of an underlying sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Choking or gasping during sleep.
Breathing stops during sleep, observed by others.
Waking up sleepy despite having slept a sufficient number of hours.
Feeling tired or sleepy during the day.
Falling asleep while sedentary (such as while watching television, reading, driving and stopped in traffic, or during conversations).
More than 80 percent of patients with sleep apnea do not know they have it. If it is not diagnosed, sleep apnea may contribute to other health problems, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and crashes from falling asleep at the wheel.
So if you are experiencing loud, habitual snoring, please talk with your doctor to see whether an evaluation for sleep apnea should be done.
- Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula with staff writer Leila Haghighat