Dr. Madan Kandula went on The Morning Blend to answer questions people posted about their snoring partners.
[Molly] And welcome back to our brand new series, "Sleep Well, Breathe Well" with ADVENT. Today a problem that many couples have every single night and it could create a wedge in your relationship.
[Tiffany] That's right. Last week we asked our Facebook fans if they had any questions about snoring for our expert, ADVENT CEO Dr. Madan Kandula joins us now. He's going to answer some of those questions for us. Good morning, Dr.
[Dr. Kandula] Good morning, good morning. How are you doing?
[Tiffany] We're doing well, so good to see you. Love this new series. We're really excited and I want to get to all these answers because here's the deal, people need to know these things. So let's start with number one. People want to know just first and foremost "Why does my partner snore?"
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, I mean, the simple answer is that the back of their throat is too tight. And so the airway starts at the nose and the back of the throat, and so those areas aren't properly open then that creates a blockage and when somebody is trying to breathe, that vibrations what you're hearing when somebody snores. So, it's annoying to those around that person that that's happening for. But really when you think about it, when that's happening to somebody, that somebody's airway crying for help and it's really, really common. It impacts so many people.
[Molly] When we posted this on Facebook looking for people's questions, we got a lot of them because I think people are so frustrated and many people are at least somewhat aware that snoring can be a sign of a serious problem, but somebody asks, "Does snoring always mean that it's something more serious, that someone has sleep apnea?"
[Dr. Kandula] No, the short answer is no, although it can be difficult if not impossible to know for sure what's going on. So if you snore, like I said that's the sound of your airway collapsing when you're sleeping at night, it's vibrating, that's where that annoying sound is coming from. Sleep apnea is when somebody's airway takes the next step and shuts down completely. And sometimes that can be subtle. So sometimes somebody snoring and stopping breathing and all that you hear is, is this is a snoring? Other times people can notice that boy, the person next to me is stopping breathing and it's frightening. But at the end of the day, it's either one, both of those things are representing problems and it's a spectrum of issues. So snoring is on the milder side of the spectrum sleep apnea is on the more severe side of the spectrum. There really isn't a good way for you to know, for sure whether you have sleep apnea or don't have sleep apnea without doing a sleep study. And so if somebody snoring on a consistent basis, that's impacting their sleep that's impacting the sleep of those around them. That's impacting your life period. If somebody has sleep apnea, it just sort of adds fuel to that fire. Meaning in addition to the impact of the snoring now that stopping breathing is taking its toll night after night, week after week, month after month. And so what ends up happening is you get this ticking time bomb that's going and night after night it's getting closer to going off. And that's a scary thing.
[Tiffany] That is a scary thing. I want to get back to the air gasping in just a second but I want to address kind of the video we saw because I think it's a common thing that you can't sleep well when your partner is snoring. So a lot of people said, you know "I can hardly sleep at night. How can I get my partner to stop snoring?"
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah; I mean, it's the reality is that snoring is again their body telling you that there's a problem. And so short of addressing the root cause of that problem, you're doing a band-aid or making a band-aid approach. So we talked about sleep divorce in the past which is just taking your pillow and going somewhere else or elbowing the snorer and saying, Hey, get to the couch.
[Tiffany] Wake up.
[Dr. Kandula] That's a sort of band-aid that gets you guys separated, but it doesn't really address the underlying issue obviously. And so, at the end of the day if somebody is snoring and that's going on on a consistent basis and it is impacting them and those around them, really the thing to do is look to the root cause, which is what's going on in their throat that's causing this issue and what are we going to do about it there? The nice thing is there's so many different things that can be done these days to get to the root cause, address that root cause, get you moving on with life that you're supposed to have.
[Molly] Now on this note, many people will say, "Hey, if I can get my partner to turn on their side, or even if I can just wake them up briefly, the snoring will stop." Is that enough?
[Dr. Kandula] I mean, it's better than the alternative. So worst case scenario for somebody who has the tendency to snore is you put them on their back and then if you drop their mouth open that's really bad and that's gonna make anybody who's snore is gonna make that problem 10 times worse. So if you can shift somebody to their side what you're doing is you're taking an airway and you're either by gravity, that's collapsing somebody's airway down top to bottom. If you put them on their side, then all of a sudden gravity can kind of help to open that airway up which is again, better than the alternative but it is typically not something that's lasting. Meaning you elbow somebody get them on their side and it could be a matter of minutes. Maybe it's an hour that you'll get with them on their side and all of a sudden they're back on your back and you're back awake again.
[Tiffany] I do want to go back to the part where you said sometimes you can hear them gasp for air because that's another question is "I think my partner always gasps for air overnight. Should I be concerned that they could die in their sleep?" And you said it could be a little bit of a ticking time bomb. Is that a real concern?
[Dr. Kandula] It is in this way, meaning that somebody who has sleep apnea their body unfortunately gets used to kind of getting strangled night after night after night. And so what ends up happening is that that is really hard on your heart and your lungs and the rest of your body. So if somebody has untreated sleep apnea there is a much higher chance of somebody dying or suffering from those other things I just talked about. Those are the things that, will do somebody in. So somebody who has sleep apnea that's not treated properly, what will end them, unfortunately at the end is a heart attack or stroke, or it could be diabetes could be many other things there. And so the challenge is if somebody suffers from such an event which is horrific and you don't want that happening, nobody connects that back to the underlying sleep apnea. So that's a sin. It's a shame. It's one of those things, it's one of the reason we want to do this series because I think there's so much, lack of understanding, misunderstanding. This is a real issue. It's a serious issue. It does take its toll. Nobody wants that end result of that and nobody. And so there are things that you can do. And again, the nice thing is those are simple these days. It's not like you were asking you to make a, some big leap. It's really, really easy.
[Tiffany] I think these answers and questions were phenomenal. We had a couple more, so I know you're going to be back in a week. So, so good to see you, Dr. Madan.
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah; good to see you.
[Tiffany] Absolutely; what you can do is go to ADVENTknows.com. That's where you can schedule an online. It's just take 60 seconds. Most insurances are accepted. No referrals required. ADVENT has locations close to you, at Wauwatosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie. So make sure you stop in and find out what's going on with your snoring or your partner's snoring as well.