Snoring: Funny but not hopeless
45% of all normal adults sometimes, 25% snore habitually.Snoring is more frequent in overweight men and incerases as the age increases.
More than 300 materials are sold to prevent snoring in the world. Many of them prevent sleeping in supine posiition because in supine position snoring worsens. Materials to hold the neck straigt are used, even electrical activity given materials are used when snoring occurs. They thought that human can get rid of snoring. However snoring is not voluntary, all these materials if work because they make people asleep.
What causes snoring?
If air passage ic obstructed at the back of the mouth, snoring sound occurs. If the passage gets narrower then the air passes faster. This air causes the structures found at pharynx to vibrate thus producing sound.
1-Loose structure of tongue and pharynx muscles: This causes tongue to fall back while sleeping and narrows the passage. This conditions worsens if alcohol or sleeping muscle relaxant drugs are used. Same problem can happen at deep sleeping stage of some people.
2-Thick pharyx tissue: Tonsils and adenoid hypertrophy causes snoring in children. Overweight people have thick neck also. Rarely cyst and tumors of this region can narrow the air passage.
3-Elongated soft palate and uvula: Both of these cases obstruct the pharynx and vibrates producing snoring sound.
4-Nasal obstruction: Person has to force himself to take breath in if his nose is obstructed. This causes vacuum in the pharynx and resulting shrinking of pharyngeal structures. Some people snore just because they have obtructed nose. This explains why people snore when they have allergy, rhinitis, sinusitis. Nasal septal devations can cause snoring.
Is snoring serious?
Socially yes. It disturbs family life. Cause problems in vacation.
Medically yes. Snoring can effect sleep pattern. Heavy snoring people tend to have more hypertension than non snoring people.
Snoring people can have apnea. People stop breathing during sleep. If this continues more than 10 seconds it is accepted as apnea. They have different degrees. Heavy apnea is a very important life threating condition. These people cannot rest during the night. Their oxygen levels are decreased during apneas and concomitant heart and blood circulatory problems occur. Sleep studies clarify the presence and the degree of the apneas.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes restless sleep. People cannot wake up with good rest. They are tired all the day and become sleepy, this becomes dangeraus while driving and doing dangerous jobs and actions.
Can snoring be treated?
Many of the snorers are helped till now.
Following advices may help in rare and light snoring cases:
1-Weight loss, regular exercise to have a fit body and good muscular tension.
2-Avoid drugs helping sleep, tranquilizers and antihistaminic drugs before sleep.
3-Stay away from alcohol.
4-Stop eating 3 hours before sleeping.
5-Avoid tiredness and sleep in a regular pattern.
6-Try to sleep on your side, supine position increases snoring.
7-Elevate head of your bed approximately 15-20 cm.
8-If you sleep at the same room, let the nonsnoring person sleep before you.
These advices do not work in heavy snorers.
If snoring disturbs socially and medically then it should be treated.
Heavy snores should be examined by an ear, nose, throat expert. Sleep study can show the presence and the degree of snoring and/or apnea. Treatment depends on the reason. It can be as simple as treatment of allergy, rhinitis, nasal septal deviation, tonsil and adenoid operation. Or it may be necessary to decrease the soft tissue mass in pharynx by surgery. If they do not work or if patient dose not want operation air pressure giving machines can be used by facial masks. (CPAP, BIPAP).
Radiofrequency is also used for mild snoring easily in suitable cases.
Continuously snoring child should be examined precisely. It showed that after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy children get very well.
Do not forget, snoring means narrowing and obstruction of air passage. It could be serious. It is not funny, nor a hopeless condition.