Snoring: Causes, Complications, Diagnosis, Effective Treatments

Snoring

Snoring is a typical occurrence. The American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) estimates that up to 45 percent of American adults snore, with 25% snoring often. Men snore more than women, and it becomes worse as they get older.

Snoring can be reduced by modifying one’s lifestyle. If snoring is caused by a sleep condition, however, some people will require medical treatment. Consult your physician if you’re concerned about snoring.

What Is Snoring

The act of snoring is defined as breathing noisily while sleeping. It’s a common ailment that can affect anyone, although it’s more common among men and overweight people. Snoring seems to get worse as you get older.

Snoring isn’t usually a severe issue until it occurs frequently. It’s largely a pain in your bed partner’s neck. Snoring for a long period, on the other hand, not only disrupts the sleep habits of those around you but also degrades your own sleep quality.

Who Is More Likely To Snore

Almost everyone, including babies, children, and adults, snores from time to time. Snoring is more common in certain persons than in others. Risk factors for snoring include:

  • Age: Because muscle tone declines with aging, airways constrict, causing snoring to become more common.
  • Alcohol and sedatives: Certain drugs and alcoholic beverages relax muscles, limiting airflow in the mouth, nose, and throat.
  • Anatomy: Airflow through the nose and mouth might be hampered by a long soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth), big adenoids, tonsils, or a broad tongue. The flow of air can be obstructed by a deviated septum (displaced cartilage in the nose).
  • Gender: Snoring is more common in men.
  • Family history: Snoring is a trait that runs through families. If one of your parents snores, you’re more likely to snore as well.
  • Overall health: Allergies and the common cold can cause nasal stuffiness, which prevents airflow through the mouth and nose. Due to hormonal changes and weight increases, pregnant women are more likely to snore.
  • Weight: People who are overweight or obese are more likely to snore and have sleep-related breathing issues.

Is Snoring a Sign of Something Else

Snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder in which people snore while sleeping. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in addition to snoring, you should seek medical advice.

  • You’re unable to keep track of your sleep during the day
  • Changes in Blood pressure levels  
  • Headaches after lack of sleep
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty concentration 
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
  • Disruptive sleep. 

Snoring Causes

Snoring occurs when the airflow via your mouth and nose is obstructed. Several factors can obstruct airflow, including:

  • Blocked nasal airways. Some people only snore when they have a sinus infection or when they have allergies. Blocking your airways can also be caused by nasal issues such as a deviated septum (when the wall separating one nostril from the other is off-center) or nasal polyps.
  • Poor muscle tone in your throat and tongue. The muscles in your throat and tongue can become overly relaxed, allowing them to collapse into your airway.
  • Bulky throat tissue. Obesity can contribute to this. Some children snore because of their big tonsils and adenoids.
  • Long soft palate and/or uvula. The opening from your nose to your throat can be narrowed by a lengthy soft palate or a long uvula (the dangling tissue in the back of your mouth). They vibrate and rub against one another when you breathe, and your airway becomes clogged.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Taking muscle relaxants or drinking alcohol can cause your tongue and throat muscles to relax too much.
  • Sleep position. If you sleep on your back, you may snore. Using a cushion that is overly soft or too large might also be problematic.
  • Sleep Deprivation. Your throat muscles may relax too much if you don’t get enough sleep.

How Can Snoring Be Prevented?

Mild snoring can be alleviated by making a few lifestyle modifications. Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial to your body and can even help you snore less. Other adjustments that could be beneficial include:

  • You should sleep on your side.
  • before going to bed, apply nasal strips on the bridge of your nose
  • removing persistent nasal congestion
  • avoiding alcoholic beverages before going to bed
  • not eating before going to bed
  • Use an extra cushion to raise your head by 4 inches

Although there are numerous things you may do to prevent mild snoring, if you snore frequently, you should consult your doctor. Controlling your snoring will enhance your sleep and overall quality of life.

Snoring Diagnosis and Treatment

It’s possible that your partner is the one who informs you that you snore. Both of you will be asked about your symptoms by your doctor.

Your doctor will also ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam to check for things like chronic nasal congestion caused by rhinitis or sinusitis, a deviated septum, or swollen tonsils, all of which can restrict your airways. They may also provide the following tests to you:

  • Imaging tests. An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan might be used to check for abnormalities with your airways.
  • Sleep study. It’s possible that you’ll need to have a machine monitor your sleep at home, or that you’ll need to spend the night in a lab for a polysomnography test. It will track your heart rate, respiration, and brain activity as you sleep.

The following are some snoring treatments:

  • Lifestyle changes. Your doctor may advise you to lose weight, quit smoking, or refrain from consuming alcohol before bedtime.
  • Oral appliances. While sleeping, you have a little plastic device in your mouth. It works by shifting your jaw or tongue to keep your airways open.
  • Surgery. Stopping snoring can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Your doctor may need to remove or shrink tissues in your throat, as well as stiffen your soft tissues.
  • CPAP. CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” By pushing air into your airways while you sleep, a continuous positive airway pressure machine addresses sleep apnea and may reduce snoring.
  • Nasal strips. Flexible bands adhere to the outside of your nose and help to keep your nasal passages open.
  • Medications. Cold and allergy medications help you breathe more freely by reducing nasal congestion.

What Are The Surgical Treatments For Snoring

Surgery to reduce or remove extra tissue or address a structural problem can be used to cure snoring and sleep-disordered breathing in some circumstances. Many of these procedures are painless. Small incisions are used by your physician, and you may be able to return home the same day. Snoring surgery comprises the following procedures:

  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): LAUP enhances airflow by reducing tissue in the soft palate.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure, also known as Somnoplasty, employs radiofrequency energy to decrease extra tissue in the soft palate and tongue.
  • Septoplasty: A deviated septum in the nose is straightened with this treatment. By altering the cartilage and bone in the nose, a septoplasty increases airflow.
  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy: Excess tissue is removed from the back of the neck (tonsillectomy) or the back of the nose (rhinoplasty) (adenoidectomy).

Risk factors

Snoring can be brought on by a variety of factors, including:

  • Being a man. Men are more likely than women to suffer from snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Being overweight. Obese or overweight people are more likely to snore or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Having a narrow airway. Snoring can be caused by a narrowed airway caused by a long soft palate, large tonsils, or adenoids in some people.
  • Drinking alcohol. Because alcohol relaxes your throat muscles, you’re more likely to snore.
  • Having nasal problems. Snoring is more likely if you have a structural problem in your airways, such as a deviated septum, or if your nose is frequently clogged.
  • Have a history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea in your family. OSA is linked to a family history of the condition.

Snoring Complications

Snoring does not appear to be a problem. However, sleep apnea can create a variety of issues, including:

  • Even if you don’t realize it, you’re waking up frequently.
  • Sleeping lightly. Waking up so frequently throughout the night disrupts your regular sleep pattern, forcing you to spend more time in light sleep rather than more restorative, deeper sleep.
  • Your heart is under a lot of stress from you. Long-term obstructive sleep apnea boosts blood pressure and may cause your heart to grow larger, increasing your chances of a heart attack or stroke.
  • I had a bad night’s sleep. This makes you sleepy during the day, lowers your quality of life, and increases your risk of car accidents.

What Is the Prognosis For Snorers

Snoring caused by a cold or the flu is usually harmless. Snoring that is too loud or too often, on the other hand, could be an indication of sleep apnea, a serious condition. Long-term snoring raises the risk of a variety of health conditions, including:

  • Decreased blood oxygen levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired during the day).
  • Heart attack.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stroke.
  • Type 2 diabetes.

When To See A Doctor

Snoring can be harmful to your health. It’s critical to receive a diagnosis and speak with your doctor about snoring. If you can’t breathe while sleeping or are excessively weary throughout the day, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Speak with your child’s healthcare professional if your youngster snores. Snoring children may not receive enough restful nighttime sleep. Children who are deprived of sleep are more likely to develop behavioral issues. Children who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be weary all of the time and have difficulty concentrating at school.

How Can I Stop Snoring

By altering your lifestyle, nutrition, and everyday activities, you may be able to avoid snoring. You should do the following if you wish to stop snoring:

1. Try an OTC medication

Snoring can be treated with intranasal decongestants such oxymetazoline (Zicam) and intranasal steroid sprays like fluticasone (Cutivate). If your snoring is caused by a cold or allergies, this is especially true.

2. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol causes the muscles in your throat to relax, which can lead to snoring. Avoid drinking alcohol completely, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

3. Sleep on your side

If you sleep on your back, you may snore. When you relax, your tongue might slip back into your throat, narrowing your airway and causing snoring. Sleeping on your side can help keep your tongue from getting in the way of your breathing.

4. Use a mouthpiece

If over-the-counter drugs aren’t working, a mouthpiece may be an option. Snoring can be reduced by wearing a removable mouth guard that holds your jaw, tongue, and soft palate in place. To ensure that the mouthpiece is working properly, you’ll need to visit your dentist on a frequent basis.

5. Lose weight

Snoring has been connected to being overweight. Weight loss and snoring reduction may be achieved by following a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. Talk to your doctor about building a diet and exercise plan if you’re overweight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help control hypertension, enhance lipid profiles, and lower your risk of diabetes, in addition to reducing snoring.

6. Make use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine

Overnight, a CPAP machine pumps air into your airway, reducing snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. It also aids in the openness of your airway. You must use an oxygen mask while sleeping in order for the gear to work. This may take some getting used to, but it can help you get rid of your symptoms quickly. Your CPAP machine may be covered by your insurance if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

7. Explore surgical options

Additionally, there are a number of surgical procedures available to help you stop snoring. Some of these entail altering the airway. This can be accomplished by injecting filament into your soft palate, cutting extra tissue in your throat, or reducing soft palate tissue. Consult your doctor to check if surgical procedures are appropriate for you.

Snoring Remedies

In some cases of snoring, you should consult a doctor to get the treatment you need to correct the underlying problem.

Simple home remedies can often be utilized to alleviate snoring caused by benign variables such as sleeping position.

Here are the frequent home cures for snoring and its varied causes:

1. Lose weight if you are overweight.

This can help to reduce the amount of tissue in your throat that could be causing you to snore. Reduce your overall caloric consumption and consume smaller amounts and healthier meals to lose weight. Make it a point to exercise every day. You could also consult a doctor or a dietitian for assistance.

2. Use nasal strips or an external nasal dilator.

Stick-on nasal strips can be placed on the bridge of the nose to assist open up the nasal channel. This can improve your breathing while also lowering or eliminating snoring.

Another alternative is to use a nasal dilator, which is a stiffened adhesive strip that is placed on top of the nose and across the nostrils. This can reduce airflow resistance, making breathing easier.

3. Correct structural problems in your nose.

A deviated septum is a condition that some people are born with or develop as a result of an injury. The wall that separates both sides of the nose is misaligned, restricting ventilation. It may cause snoring by inducing mouth breathing during sleep. To remedy this issue, surgery may be required. Speak with your physician.

4. Limit or avoid alcohol before bed.

Avoid consuming alcohol for at least two hours before going to bed. Alcohol relaxes the muscles of the throat, causing snoring.

5. Use an oral appliance.

Oral appliances, often known as dental mouthpieces, can assist keep your airways open, making it simpler to breathe. This keeps snoring at bay. You must visit your dentist to get one of these devices created.

Conclusion

Snoring is a common chronic disease that, if left untreated, can become problematic. If you snore on a daily basis and are concerned about how to stop snoring, you could try some home remedies or see a doctor to start the treatment process. It will be useful to go over the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, therapy, and precautions connected to how to stop snoring before consulting.