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Andrew McDowell, PA-C

Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine…

About Snoring

Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, causing these tissues to vibrate and produce a hoarse or harsh sound. Several anatomical and physiological factors contribute to this phenomenon. The primary cause is the rattling and vibration of tissues such as the tongue, soft palate, uvula, and airway during breathing while asleep.

Snoring is a common condition characterized by the hoarse or harsh sound that emerges when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat during sleep. This airflow causes the tissues to vibrate, producing the familiar sound of snoring. Mayo Clinic explains that snoring can occur due to a variety of factors including the anatomy of one's mouth and throat, lifestyle choices, and certain health conditions like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The mechanics behind snoring involve several structures within the upper airway. When individuals fall asleep, muscles in their palate, tongue, and throat relax. If these tissues relax enough to partially block the airway, they can flutter or vibrate as air passes through them during breathing. Factors such as obesity, alcohol consumption before bedtime, nasal congestion from colds or allergies can exacerbate this effect.

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  • Andrew McDowell

    Andrew McDowell, MMS, PA-C, is an experienced clinician with over 10 years of practice in emergency medicine and critical care. He has a specialized interest in sleep medicine and shares his research and knowledge on Sleep Care Pro. As a shift worker, Andrew understands the daily challenge of getting restful sleep. As a husband and a father, he understands how life can get in the way of developing good sleep hygiene. And as a practicing PA, he recognizes the important role that sleep plays in our healthspan. Primary care providers have little time to educate their patients on good sleep practices and are instead incentivized to prescribe sedating medications to patients. Andrew believes this is the wrong approach, and he founded Sleep Care Pro to help people engage sleep in a holistic manner. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates and is Board Certified by the NCCPA. He is a veteran of the United States Army and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is an advocate for the unique healthcare needs of veterans, and he believes high quality sleep is a cornerstone of good mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps in diagnosing the cause of snoring?

The first steps in diagnosing the cause of snoring typically involve a detailed medical history and a physical examination. This may include questions about sleep patterns, daytime symptoms, and any known health conditions. In some cases, a sleep study or polysomnography might be recommended to monitor sleep and breathing.

Can lifestyle changes help reduce snoring?

Yes, lifestyle changes can significantly help reduce snoring. These changes may include losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, sleeping on your side, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. These adjustments can reduce the likelihood of the airway being obstructed during sleep.

Are there any medical treatments for snoring?

There are various medical treatments for snoring, depending on its underlying cause. These treatments may include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, oral appliances designed to keep the airway open, or surgeries such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or radiofrequency ablation. Consulting with a healthcare provider is crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment.

How can a sleep study help in treating snoring?

A sleep study, or polysomnography, can help in treating snoring by providing a comprehensive analysis of sleep patterns and breathing. It can identify sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which is a common cause of snoring. Based on the results, a tailored treatment plan can be developed to address the specific causes of snoring.

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