Snoring Problem: Everyone Knows Someone Who Has It

It is rather tough to find someone who does not snore or who does not know someone who is coping with a snoring problem. No wonder, because the prevalence of snoring is so common. Close to 90 million adults in the US snore, out of who 37 million complain of snoring regularly. Though there is no specific age when this problem shows up, but ageing definitely plays a role in worsening of the condition.

People who run the highest risk of developing snoring problem are males who are overweight. But the problem can affect people of both genders.

What causes the snoring noise? 

During sleep, all the muscles of the body are in a relaxed state, including those that are directly responsible for breathing (tongue, throat, soft palate and uvula). When the throat muscles are in a relaxed state, the tongue could recede and block the air passage. During breathing, the throat muscles may start to vibrate. The sound of such vibration is the sound of snoring.

The relaxed breathing muscles cause narrowing of the airways. The narrower the air pipe, the greater the effort to breathe. Subsequently the vibration also increases and along with it, the sound of snoring. When the airway collapses, it causes partial or complete blockage of air flow and results in a serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea, marked by recurrent pauses in breathing.

What are the factors responsible for causing snoring problem?   

–          Abnormalities of the inner mouth: Low, thick soft palate or excess tissues at the back of the throat cause narrowing of air passage.

–          Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat like enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, deviated septum (septum is the central cartilage dividing the two nostrils)

–          Functional abnormalities like inflammation inside the nose and throat.

–          Wrong sleeping position

–          Obesity

–          Alcohol consumption

–          Sleep apnea

–          Normal ageing process 

When does snoring problem demand medical attention? 

Unfortunately, most snorers are not aware of their nighttime sleep problem. However, the following signs call for urgent medical attention:

–          Feeling excessively sleepy or tired during the day

–          Headaches in the morning

–          Unexplained weight gain

–          Restless sleep

–          Waking during the night feeling confused

–          Failing memory; poor concentration

–          Bed partner notices frequent pauses in breathing

What are the medical consequences of this problem? 

Snoring problem is often left untreated and ignored by most snorers who are under the impression that this is an untreatable condition or the problem is too insignificant to demand any therapy.

It is a fact that all of us snore once in a while.  But if someone snores consistently and does not treat the problem, other than creating problems for self as well as the bed partner, it can lead to:

–          Fragmented and un-refreshing sleep leading to daytime fatigue, resulting in impaired productivity levels during the day.

–          Risk of developing cardiovascular disease

–          Half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea.

–          Rapid deterioration of condition with age.

–          Irritability, increased health problems.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field