Dr. Kandula went on The Morning Blend to explain why you shouldn't laugh if a family member is sawing logs after Thanksgiving dinner.
[Molly] Welcome back to The Morning Blend. Does someone in your family snore? The sound can be funny, but our next guest says it's no laughing matter. This is our Sleep Well, Breathe Well series with ADVENT. Today, we explain what causes snoring and why it's such a serious issue for your health.
Dr. Madan Kandula is a board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist. Good morning to you, doctor.
[Dr. Kandula] Good morning. Good morning.
[Molly] Thanks for joining us. I got to ask you this because I think snoring can be kind of funny. We make fun of maybe people in our family or close friends who snore. But the other thing is, along with it being a serious health issue, it also is the kind of thing that can keep other people awake and be extremely frustrating and even damaging to relationships, right?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, historically people have sort of made light of snoring because they don't know what to do about it. And I think the more that we understand what's actually happening when somebody snores, when they're sleeping or laying down, the more sinister it actually is, meaning that what snoring is, it's the sound of your body crying out for help. That sound, that roar, that annoying sound is literally the sound of somebody's airway collapsing down. And where that's happening is in the back of the throat. And so, the sound is getting created back there, but you know, the entirety of what we call The Breathing TriangleÂ® or the two nostrils in the back of the throat. Those three passages are the passages that you have to breathe. And if those areas are compromised, snoring is one of the common symptoms that come along with that. And it isn't. I mean, I guess I'd say, you know, life should be enjoyed. But I'd say if snoring is happening, there's something not right with somebody's airway, which isn't, at the end of day, a laughing matter.
[Molly] Oh, that's so hard to hear when you say it's like our body crying for help. I mean, just just thinking about that. But I think it's so important for you to talk about this, and I hope it's OK to ask you. I want to know what the role of alcohol plays. A lot of people, let's say for the holidays, are going to have a drink or two and then they're going to go to sleep. Does alcohol intensify snoring, ever?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, almost always. So alcohol is a depressant and mentally and physically, it kind of relaxes you. If you're if you're having a couple of drinks, I mean, it's not there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. But the problem is is if you've got a compromised airway and you throw a couple of drinks down the hatch, then it will assuredly make the snoring worse. Everybody who has sort of a snoring tendency or sleep apnea knows this to be true. Everybody who's around those who have that tendency absolutely know this to be true, is, you know, a couple of drinks enjoying time with the family oftentimes leads to a night of misery for somebody's body and oftentimes for those around them.
[Molly] Yeah, thinking about that throat relaxing and what causes it. So I think a lot of people are familiar with this sight. So it's like you see someone on a couch or you're riding in the car, perhaps, or they're sleeping and their mouth is sort of gaping open and it's almost like they stop breathing or they're gasping for air.
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, they are gasping for air. I mean, that's exactly what's happening, so you know, when you sleep, your body relaxes, the back of the throat relaxes. If your mouth is open and your tongue is almost assuredly in a position to fall into the back of your throat so that snoring sound is the vibration that's happening back there. The pausing, gasping, you know, that's the sound of the airway completely shutting down. And then, you know, what do you do if you know right now- if somebody came and they shut me now airway down, I'd gasp and I'd catch my breath back up and I'd say, Well, don't do that again. Unfortunately, when somebody is snoring, they don't have the ability to do that. And but if you're watching that happen, it's a sign that something's not right there.
[Molly] Yeah, it's amazing for for many of us to think that the person who's doing that isn't even aware of it, but they are truly going in and out of sleep and sort of waking themselves up. So I'm hoping you're going to give us some good news now. How can this be treated?
[Dr. Kandula] Well, the good news is there are effective simple solutions nowadays for snoring, and so snoring again, it happens in The Breathing TriangleÂ®. At ADVENT, all we do is deal with issues in The Breathing TriangleÂ®, nose and throat issues exactly like snoring. And so if you're snoring and you don't want to be doing that or, you know, somebody who's snores and you don't want them to be doing that, there's simple, easy solutions as simple as sometimes just a retainer that you're going to wear when you're sleeping a night that holds your airway open on up the ladder to simple, in-office procedures to get somebody's nose working or stiffen the throat. A multitude of options. Finding the right fit for each individual and at the end of the day, it just comes down to understanding what's going on. Understanding how impactful it is and then providing a solution that matches the issues.
[Molly] And this is important. You're a sinus surgeon, you're an ear, nose and throat expert. People think, Oh, you're always going to have surgery. If if you see someone who's an expert like you, that's not the case. You just mentioned you do sinuses first. There are in-office, you know, you start with the most conservative approach and go from there if people don't get the relief that they need. So I'm also wondering because a lot of people may say, OK, I snore, all right. I love someone who snores, but how do you know if it's bad enough that you need to see a doctor?
[Dr. Kandula] Well, I mean, if it's going on and you don't want it to be there, then it's bad enough to see a doctor. I guess, at the end of the day. The more you know, it's sort of to the extreme of snoring, which isn't that extreme is when somebody stops breathing at night. That's called sleep apnea. There's no easy way to tell if somebody just snores or if they have sleep apnea. And so if somebody's snoring, persistently doing a home sleep study is a simple, no brainer, easy thing to do. Figure out what's going on. Once we know exactly the severity, then you can factor that in with how you want to approach it. And so if we've got something that's mild severity, maybe we want to go on the mild side of the equation. If we've got something that's more severe that somebody's got severe sleep apnea, for instance, well, we ought to ramp it up and we ought to bring you in that conversation and help you help us figure out what's the right fit for you and the right solution for you.
[Molly] Yeah. And people who are familiar with someone who has a CPAP machine, there are other alternatives too, which is important. OK, last thing I'm going to put you on spot. I'm going to ask you to tap into your inner psychologist here and tell us, what should you say to someone you love who snores?
[Dr. Kandula] You know, maybe start with, I love you, if you, in fact, love them because kindness goes a long way. But I love you. I'm worried about you when you're sleeping at night, when I see you, you know, resting your body is fighting and I'm concerned enough because I love you that I'd like you to do something about it. And what I from what I hear, I think there's simple things out there that could be done. Let's work together to put an end to this. How about that?
[Molly] Oh, OK. I just got to say, I know your wife. She would be so proud of the way you just phrased that. I mean that. I think that was perfect. Thank you so much, Dr. Kandola.
[Dr. Kandula] Thank you. She's trained me well.
[Molly] Yes, she has. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your family.
[Dr. Kandula] Happy Thanksgiving. You as well. Thank you.
[Molly] Thank you so much. All right. Today, ADVENT has released some additional new patient appointments for Morning Blend viewers to be seen this week. So go to ADVENTknows.com to schedule online in just 60 seconds. Most insurances are accepted. No referral is required. There are five southeastern Wisconsin locations, so there's Wauwatosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie. They also have offices in Appleton as well as the Chicagoland area.