Why Is It Important to Tell My Doctor I Snore Before Having Surgery?

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Most of us think of snoring as a silly thing and really more of a habit than a problem. Snoring is actually a sign of an underlying problem with your airway and what happens when you go to sleep at night or if you're napping, it's normal for your muscles in the throat region to relax, that causes the airway to narrow.

As the airway narrows, airflow can become more turbulent and that will vibrate tissues, that's what snoring is. So we know that anyone that is snoring has a little a bit more of a narrowness to their airway than we would like, and it in fact can actually collapse down all the way as if you were suffocating.

Your brain realizes there's a problem with your breathing and responds to your needs and it will return the tone to those muscles so your airway opens up again and you can breathe normally. Now imagine if you're going for surgery or a procedure that requires sedation, well your brain just will not respond properly to your needs, it's sedated.

So if you are going for surgery you want to make sure you alert your doctors to the fact that you do snore. Your doctor then should do a simple screen asking you some questions to determine if you are someone that's at high risk for problems when you go to that procedure to the OR.

And failing to do so leaves you at risk for sudden death from cardiac or respiratory failure, and the consequences of that can be serious. You could end up with brain injury and sometimes even death. So as silly as snoring may sound, it's deadly serious when you're going for a procedure or surgery.