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Snoring Glossary

AHI -- apnea-hypopnea index -- is the average number of apneas and hypopneas that occur per sleep hour.  Obstructive sleep apnea is often defined as an AHI of 10 or more. AHI is the same thing as the RDI (see below).

(spelled apnoea in Commonwealth countries) means "not breathing". 

Bi-PAP -- Bilevel positive airway pressure -- treatment where air is blown through a mask placed over the nose in a way that allows control of air pressure both when you inhale and when you exhale. This helps prevent your airway from collapsing.

-- approach to removing tissue surgically using low-heat electrosurgical equipment.

-- continuous positive airway pressure  -- treatment involving a device that inflates the throat with air, keeping your airways open.  This is the primary treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Deviated nasal septum -- the nasal septum is the structure which divides your nasal cavity into two halves. Sometimes the septum is deformed, so that the air passage is obstructed or totally blocked in one or both nostrils, causing snoring.

Hypopnea -- a partial cessation of breathing, whereas an apnea is a complete cessation. The clinical definition of a hypopnea is a 50% to 90% cessation of breathing, and an apnea is a 91% to 100% cessation of breathing. Usually accompanied by shallow breathing.

MAA -- Mandibular Advancement Appliance -- similar dental device to MRD below.

MMA -- Maxillo-mandibular Advancement -- a procedure whereby the upper and lower jaws are surgically moved forward.  In other words, achieving surgically what a dental mouthpiece does.

MRD -- Mandibular Repositioning Device -- a dental device or mouthpiece that moves the jaw forward, reducing the obstruction of your airways.  In the U.S., such devices must be obtained with a dentist's prescription (and will usually be custom-fit and supplied by your dentist.)

-- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Syndrome) -- is a serious sleeping disorder.  Patients with OSA stop breathing while sleeping. 

Palate -- the roof of your mouth.

Polysomnogram --  Procedure to monitor patient's sleeping patterns, typically in a sleep lab.  Aspects monitored include brain waves and stages of sleep, oxygen, respiratory effort, snoring, heart rate and rhythm, and muscular activity.

Radiofrequency Tissue Reduction (RFTR) --  approach to shrinking tissue (such as excess throat tissue or the uvula) using radiofrequency signals to heat a thin needle inserted in the tissue.  See somnoplasty for further details.

RDI -- respiratory disturbance index -- is a clinical measurement indicating the severity of a patient's sleep disorder.  Same as AHI (see above).

Rhinitis -- an inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages. In other words, a blocked nose, which forces you to breathe through your mouth.

-- also known as injection snoreplasty, involve injection of a scarring agent into the soft tissue.  This stiffens it, reducing the noise of snoring.

Somnoplasty -- approach to removing tissue (such as excess throat tissue or the uvula) using radiofrequency signals to heat a thin needle inserted in the tissue.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) -- temporary, stroke-like event that lasts for a short time. Like many strokes, TIAs are caused by a blocked blood vessel leading to or within the brain.

Upper airway -- the passage through which you breathe, from your nose through to the esophagus. It's a pliant tube whose sidewalls consist of muscle and other soft tissues. During wakefulness, neural input to the upper airway muscle groups maintains muscle tone and keeps your airways open. With sleep, the muscles relax often causing obstruction of the upper airway.  This results in snoring or, more seriously, actual interruption of breathing, i.e. sleep apnea or hypopnea.

UARS -- Upper Airway Restriction Syndrome -- is a condition that's worse than "Socially Incorrect" snoring but less serious than sleep apnea.  It implies that your airway is restricted during sleeping but not actually blocked, as would happen with moderate or severe apnea.

Uvula -- triangular piece of tissue at the back of the throat. One type of snoring is caused by the uvula vibrating.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) -- surgical removal, by laser or scalpel, of the excess tissue at the back of the throat, including the uvula.



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