Q: My girlfriend complains that I snore. She also insists it's not healthy. Is she right, and, if so, what can I do?
A: It's normal to saw a few logs after a night of heavy wining and dining. But habitual snorers need help. Problems range from annoyed companions to the warning signs for sleep apnea, which may lead to headaches, exhaustion and cardiovascular disease. Past treatments for snoring included leather chin harnesses, electroshock devices and drugs. Today, specialists such as Dr. Vijay Anand in Manhattan employ state-of-the-art techniques. "First, if the patient is obese, I tell him to lose weight. If that doesn't help, we examine him for other problems." But in 80 percent of his snoring cases Dr. Anand removes the uvula and a portion of the soft palate, which make the noise when a patient's throat muscles relax during sleep. This can be done with a laser technique recently approved by the FDA. For more info, contact the American Sleep Disorders Association, 1610 14th Street NW, Suite 300, Rochester, MN 55901.