Snoring – Symptoms, Causes and Procedure
Snoring is a harsh sound created while a person is asleep on account of the relaxed tissues reverberating as one breathes. While most of us snore once in a while, many suffer from a chronic issue. Not only is this sometimes an indication of a serious medical issue it also causes a nuisance to your partner. It is also a huge hindrance to the quality of one’s sleep.
The episodes of snoring can be eased and controlled by making some lifestyle changes like regular sleeping patterns, quitting smoking, loss of weights and avoiding alcohol around bedtime.
Snoring is also a manifestation of factors like eating spicy foods or the reason could be even your bedding!
With snoring being ignored as just an annoyance instead of a serious indicator of underlying issues worth investigating and the fact that 33% of Indians snore, it is important to understand as much as one can about this phenomenon.
1. The anatomy of one’s mouth and sinuses is a likely cause. For e.g. Having a low and thick soft palate leads to snoring
2. Alcohol consumption and smoking are leading causes of smoking.
3. Sleep deprivation, sleep position or irregular sleeping pattern also lead to snoring.
4. A deviated nasal septum, blocked nasal passages or allergies are also the causes of snoring.
5. Obesity, lack of fitness, aging and loss of muscle tone in the throat also lead to snoring
Snoring is often related to the following risk factors which if one is aware of can be addressed head on:
1. Men are at a higher risk of snoring than women. This is true for sleep apnea as well.
2. Having a narrow airway leads to snoring. This could be due to an elongated soft palate, enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
3. Having nasal problems. If you have a structural defect in your airway, such as a deviated septum, or your nose is chronically congested, your risk of snoring is greater.
4. Alcohol consumption relaxes the throat muscles thus leading to snoring.
5. Family history of snoring is a big factor for this. Heredity is a potential risk factor for snoring and sleep apnea.
6. Excessive snoring may cause thickening in the walls of carotid arteries.
7. Recent studies also indicate that snoring puts your heart at risk. It is already a well-established fact that snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea and heart-related diseases are definitely a risk for those suffering from sleep apnea.
So how do you know that you may have snoring which may in fact not just need care on your part but probably also a visit to the doctor?
It is important to be sensitive and mindful of the following symptoms in order to understand the severity of the condition especially since snoring is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea:
1. Noise during sleep is a big give away. This may be something you or your partner will notice.
2. Due to snoring, you will not feel completely rested and may experience excessive day time sleeping or drowsiness
3. Headaches in the morning and difficulty in concentrating are also attributed to snoring on many occasions
4. Gasping or choking at night and waking up on that account and a restless sleep in order to breathe better are symptoms of snoring as well
5. High blood pressure is a manifestation of snoring too.
6. Excessive breathing through the mouth during sleep which often leads to a sore throat on waking up
Treating snoring is very important to improve the quality of life – not just yours but your partner’s as well. There are ways to get it treated which include management of symptoms or medical intervention. Managing the symptoms includes:
1. Lifestyle changes include losing weight if one is overweight, getting enough sleep and quit smoking. Limiting alcohol consumption is also important.
2. Certain changes in your sleeping routine like sleeping on your side, elevating the bed on the side where your head is and sleeping and waking up at a regular time, all help with reducing snoring.
3. Treating nasal congestion and obstruction relieves snoring to a great extent.
4. Nasal strips or external nasal dilator available over-the-counter help with symptomatic relief of snoring. They help by increasing the area of the nasal passage and also help decrease airflow resistance.
If these don’t bring relief, it is possible that one might need medical intervention in the form of surgery. Treatments mentioned above only help with symptomatic relief but won’t correct the condition. This is where Apollo Spectra can help:
1. The doctors will most probably start with an imaging test such as X-ray or an MRI. These are to map the structure of the airway and see what is causing the obstruction for e.g. a deviated septum.
2. A sleep study may be advised to understand brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing rate, sleep stages and eye and leg movement.
3. Oral appliances like dental fixtures which are specially designed for an individual by a dentist with expertise in this aspect.
4. CPAP i.e. continuous positive airway pressure includes wearing a mask0-like structure on the face which regularizes the air flow and air pressure.
5. Ultimately upper airway surgery will be the most relieving in case of excessive snoring.
At Apollo Spectra, no condition is small. We treat conditions like snoring with equal importance and precision. A team of psychiatrists, pulmonologists, ENT specialists, dentists, neurologists are involved together when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of snoring.
We value your time and to let you be able to get back to your routine life, we utilise your time at Apollo Spectra in the best way possible to get the diagnosis, tests, and treatments completed, while you’re admitted. We also provide post-treatment care so that you don’t have to go through any other trouble when you’re at home, after being discharged.
Post this, it is important to address some frequently asked questions, especially about the surgery:
Is snoring normal?
Yes, it is. However, chronic snoring is something that should catch your attention and should be looked into.
Is snoring dangerous?
It usually just a nuisance but it shouldn’t be ignored. It could be a sign of a bigger problem like sleep apnea and a deviated septum which could have serious repercussions.
Why do some people snore more loudly than others?
Body structure and anatomy of the mouth and its surrounding structures cause some people to snore more loudly than others,
Should I consider surgery for snoring?
Most cases do not need surgery but it always a good idea to get medical advice on the same.
Remember that snoring is something many people live with but shouldn’t have to. It is always a good idea to be aware and take precautionary or curative steps as and when required.