Snoring is disruptive and uncomfortable. It is considered to be a nuisance as you cannot escape its incessant noise. It is just not an unwanted habit, but acts as a reservoir for a bunch of health hazards and is destined to render your disrupted sleep and fatigue and your partner with a sense of alienation regardless of its discomfort.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the statistics revealed that about 37 million adults suffer from snoring. And if the snoring is caused by sleep apnea, the chances of person dying are 40% more than the peers. There are many risks associated with sleep disorders. Wondering, what they are? Some of them are listed below for your reference:
Cardiovascular complications: Sleep apnea results in high blood pressure, which leads to an increase in the heart size that creates a higher risk of heart attack or strokes. Also, studies indicate that a greater intensity of snoring means greater risk of narrowing of the arteries or carotid atherosclerosis which results in heart diseases.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): It is a chronic digestive disease wherein, the stomach acids back up into the esophagus and causes irritation in the tender lining. The snorer’s throat closes as the air moves in and out of the lungs. During the sleep the change in the pressure causes stomach acids to back up into the esophagus, which results in GERD.
Low oxygen levels: As you are not breathing regularly, the body doesn’t get the right amount of oxygen needed in the blood. If there is an interruption of say 10 seconds throughout the night, you will often wake up feeling suffocated. This disrupts the sleep cycle and makes you feel uncomfortable.
This annoying habit is actually an alarm bell that warrants immediate attention. The sooner it is treated, the lesser consequences you will have to suffer.
Snoring is one of the terms in the medical dictionary that explains the movement of the air through a narrow passage often causing vibration of the tissues in head and neck resulting in loud noises.
According to the stats, it is common in males approximately 45% as compared to females which is 30%. Though, snoring is not a life-threatening condition, it is an indicative of underlying health problems.
Below is a list of some common causes that leads to snoring:
Long soft palate, enlarged tonsils, or uvula– The enlargement of any of these structures may occur due to infection or allergy. This will eventually cause obstruction of the airway passage and increased vibrations of soft tissues in the oral cavity resulting in snoring. Children with enlarged adenoids often snore while sleeping.
Sleep apnea– Obstructive sleep apnea is a disturbing condition, wherein the muscles at the back of the throat relax for longer durations. This constricts he airflow into the lungs and increases the respiration to compensate oxygen loss. The increased airflow causes the relaxed mouth and throat tissues to vibrate and cause snoring. The sleep apnea might be caused because of the throat muscle weakness or the deformity of the throat.
Obesity: Believe it or not, obesity also causes snoring. Wondering how? The extra weight of the flesh at the throat’s back force the airways to close and trigger the brain to increase the rate and depth of the respiration.
Aging also results in snoring as with the aging of the brain, its ability to control the muscles diminishes involuntarily. The relaxed throat muscles during the sleep, constricts the airways and cause the sleeper to snore.
Snoring has a tendency to worsen with increase in age if left untreated. So if any member in your family snores on a regular basis, help them consult a doctor as snorers are generally unaware of their problems.
Surgery for snoring is rarely recommended. It is only considered in very severe situations and when all other treatments have been tried and failed. Before you take the big decision of palatal surgery to get rid of snoring, ensure that the problem of snoring originates from the palate as opposed to the tongue’s base. In case of nasal abnormalities, address them before you contemplate the palatal surgery.
Palatal surgery stops or reduces the compressibility of the area around the throat, which is thought to be responsible for snoring. The aim of the surgery is to reduce the tissue in this region. The surgeon may recommend sleep nasendoscopy before undertaking a deeper level of obstruction such as palatal surgery. Herein, the surgeon examines the upper airways using a narrow and flexible endoscope to see if collapsing occurs. This procedure is time consuming and costly.
There are different types of surgery to ameliorate snoring. What works best for you is determined by your surgeon keeping the cause and medical conditions in consideration. The different types of surgery to treat snoring are:
Uvulopalatophyaryngoplasty: It involves removal of excessive soft tissue from the back of the throat to widen the upper airways. The adenoids, tonsils and other tissues may have to be removed to widen the airway and enhance the smooth airflow. This may help to reduce snoring.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty: A laser device is used to remove the tissue in the throat to widen the airways and stop the snoring.
Nasal Polypectomy: This entails removing nasal polyps, which are round and soft tissues that may block the airflow within the nose.
Adenoidectomy or Tonsillectomy: If you have enlarged adenoids or tonsils that may be blocking the airways while you sleep. This surgery is recommended to open the airways during the sleep and provide instant relief.
Nasal Septoplasty: This procedure straightens and repairs the septum or tissues and bones that separate the two passages within the nose. This surgery is only performed if there is a nasal deformity present.
Implantation of plastic cylinders: In this procedure, plastic cylinders are implanted onto the soft palate, helping them to stiffen. This prevents vibrating and therefore reduces the incidence of snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Radiofrequency palatoplasty: In this procedure, an electrical current may be used to stiffen and shrink the uvula and soft palate (roof of the mouth). When both of these are stiffer, they vibrate less and lead to a better night’s sleep.
Surgery on the bony structures: This surgery is recommended in the upper airways, encouraging air to flow freely. This may involve more than one surgery.
Before undertaking the surgery, keep in mind the following:
There may be some pain present after the surgery.
A sleep study must be carried out before opting for surgery.
Even if surgery may seem successful, the snoring may return.
Ensure that all diagnostic procedures are examined before opting for surgery. You need to rule out other sources of snoring before opting for palatal surgery.
Tongue based snoring cannot be helped by surgery.
Sleep apnea may develop down the road.
Surgery will not cure sleep apnea. CPAP therapy can treat this condition.
Surgery is not effective in cases of deep oropharynx (when the side walls have collapsed into each other).
Remember, to do a proper and careful research about the sleep clinic or doctors that will be involved in the snoring surgery. Choose the practitioner who is well experienced and has a high success track record.
Snoring often is unnoticed as a disease and seen as an unwanted habit that poses a serious threat to your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thus, it is not taken seriously. But snoring is a serious issue and must be dealt seriously. 75% of people who snore generally suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. That is, their breathing is disrupted for short durations while sleeping. This increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Therefore, it is essential to treat this condition.
If your partner also snores and it is affecting your intimacy and relationship, try these effective home remedies and save your relationship:
Homemade saline nasal spray: Sometimes, snoring is caused because of nasal congestion, which is the result of allergies, sinus problem and infection causes swelling in the inner lining of the nose. The swelling makes the soft palate vibrate, which creates the snoring sound. The saline spray reduces the inflammation and stops snoring. To make saline nasal spray, add ¼ tablespoon of canning salt in ½ cup of distilled water and pour 2-3 drops into each nostril at bedtime. The preparation must be replenished after 5 days.
Peppermint oil: The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint oil, reduce the inflammation of the inner lining of the nostrils to stop snoring if caused by nasal congestion. Pour few drops of peppermint oil on the fingers and rub onto the lower portions of the side of the nose. You can even use it as a steam inhalation.
Olive oil: At times the snoring is caused because of the excessive tissues at the end of the throat or nose. These tissues partially block the airway that causes the sound of snoring. It is recommended to take a sip of olive oil as the moistened tissues cause less friction due to the contact with each other. This makes the air move smoothly and reduces the chances of snoring.
If advocated properly, self-treatment can do wonders. These simple practices can make a huge difference in reducing snoring and sleep apnea. So in order to deal with the rumblings of your partner and to maintain a fulcrum in life, try these remedies to put your snoring to rest before trying those pills and over the counter sprays.