Snoring is a well-known and very common problem, despite the fact that most people are unaware that they have sleep apnea, the symptom of which is snoring. There are a number of factors that predispose to snoring, so the prevention of apnea is to eliminate or prevent them.
Read about the causes and treatment of snoring in a new MedAboutMe article.
Snoring: causes and consequences
To most people, snoring seems to be something frivolous and does not require treatment. But in fact, the specific sounds made during sleep signal that some “detail” is faulty in the human mechanism. So snoring is a kind of warning shot.
Snoring is dangerous because it can be accompanied by obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. When a person snores in a dream, at this time the soft tissues of the oropharynx vibrate, and at the moment they close, air is blocked and breathing stops, respectively. This “breathless” moment is called apnea. Such a syndrome is fraught with prolonged respiratory arrest — from seconds to several minutes. The danger is that during the absence of breathing in the blood, the level of oxygen drops sharply, the heartbeat quickens, arrhythmia and blood pressure drops occur. During these intervals, the brain, in dire need of oxygen, sends an impulse to wake up and the person wakes up.
Such pauses in breathing during the night can occur frequently, and therefore the body does not fully rest and does not receive full recovery. This explains chronic lack of sleep, drowsiness during the day, distraction, irritability and fatigue. And that’s not all: ahead of a person with sleep apnea, memory deterioration, loss of attention, the development of heart disease, hypertension, hormonal failure, and impaired kidney function can wait. Moreover, the prospect of heart attack and stroke increases.
Symptoms of complete (obstructive) sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring;
- severe drowsiness during the day;
- frequent awakenings at night;
- fatigue under normal load;
- morning increase in blood pressure;
- old age (over 60 years).
The elderly suffer the most from sleep apnea. This is due to hypertrophy of the soft palate, which is observed with senile lethargy of the muscles of the oral cavity. The loss of the former tone of these muscles leads to the fact that they become mobile and prone to vibration. As a result, during sleep, the airways narrow — and then snoring occurs.
The cause of snoring is identified by a sleep specialist, this is a doctor whose competence is to trace sleep disorders and cure them. When examining a patient, a somnologist will check the absence of pathologies in the nasopharynx that interfere with the normalization of breathing. Since the problem can lie in several directions, the somnologist, in accordance with it, will issue a referral to an otolaryngologist, nutritionist, dentist, so that the treatment of snoring is comprehensive.
Snoring is treated with conservative methods in accordance with the cause of its occurrence. So, if it is caused by obesity, then a diet is prescribed. And always patients are recommended special gymnastics to strengthen the muscles of the larynx.
Surgical treatment of snoring is used in extreme cases.
Drug treatment of snoring is based on spray formulations, like Silence Forte, Slipex, etc. Such sprays produce a special foam that lies on the mucous membrane of the larynx and thereby moisturizes and softens it. This reduces the volume and intensity of snoring during sleep.
It should be noted that sprays are not an unconditional treatment for sleep apnea, you need to consult a doctor with a solution to this problem.
Snoring does not occur by itself: it needs the appropriate prerequisites, and long-term and correct prevention is important to level them.
Since one of the common causes of snoring is ENT pathologies, diseases such as sinusitis, adenoiditis, polyps, deviated nasal septum, and enlarged tonsils should be treated. Surgery may be required: adenotomy, tonsillectomy, rhinoplasty, somnoplasty (correction of the shape of the soft palate).
To strengthen the muscles of the respiratory tract, pulmonologists and somnologists recommend special drops based on essential oils — their action tones the muscles and reduces irritation of the throat, softening it. In addition, there are special devices in the arsenal of therapeutic agents, such as: nipples to improve the tone of the palate and prevent its vibration, stickers with essential oils for the wings of the nose.
Doctors say that people suffering from snoring need to sleep on their side, since in this position snoring is less dangerous, and on a high pillow or on a high headboard. For those who prefer to sleep on their backs, a little trick has been invented: a pocket is sewn to the back of the pajamas and a small tennis ball is placed in it. Then the person will be forced to roll over on his side.
Prevention of bad habits is another component in the fight against snoring. Nicotine is known to be a strong respiratory irritant. In addition, it provokes tissue swelling. Alcohol acts on the muscles of the mouth, relaxing it. Therefore, it is recommended, if not a complete refusal, then at least the maximum reduction in the number of cigarettes and the volume of alcoholic beverages taken. This recommendation is especially relevant before bedtime.
Sleeping pills have the same negative effect as alcohol and cigarettes, so you should avoid them if possible.
It is important to monitor your own weight, as excess kilograms greatly impairs respiratory parameters. Overweight means a body mass index above 29 — this is already a direct path to obesity. Therefore, experts advise changing food habits and switching to an active motor mode.
Thus, the treatment of snoring largely depends on the patient himself, on his ability to discipline himself and control his health.