Many people think that there is no need to look for the causes of snoring, because this is a normal phenomenon for most people. Meanwhile, this is a dangerous disease in which air enters the lungs with difficulty and worsens the quality of life.
And if breathing completely stops for at least a few seconds, we can talk about obstructive sleep apnea. It affects the deterioration of blood circulation, increases the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. Also, because of this, working capacity decreases, a feeling of weakness appears, and fatigue increases.
Separately, it is worth mentioning snoring in a child. It negatively affects the entire development of a growing organism — all internal organs and the brain are subjected to oxygen starvation, then the general condition and sleep worsen, hyperactivity develops, school performance decreases and overall development is delayed.
Causes of snoring
To understand the causes of snoring, you need to know that during healthy sleep, the tongue and palate keep the airways open. When they relax too much, the gap between them becomes too small for normal air intake. Then, during inspiration, the pharynx vibrates and gives a characteristic noise.
Snoring in adults
Both anatomical and functional features can cause snoring in adults. Among the most common are:
Deviation of the nasal septum. There may be various reasons for this — uneven growth of bone tissue and cartilage, or trauma;
Polyps in the nose. The following symptoms testify to the presence of benign formations: congestion, decreased sense of smell, various discharges;
Enlargement of the tonsils. As a result of constant colds, the tonsils expand and do not allow free breathing;
Narrowness of the pharynx or nasal cavities, elongated uvula, small or receding jaw. All these congenital features must be eliminated, and then special treatment for snoring will not be required;
Insufficient sleep and fatigue, smoking, alcohol abuse and sleeping pills — these factors reduce the elasticity of the muscles in the mouth;
Women’s menopause — in this case, snoring is affected by both the withering of the body and neurohormonal changes;
Diseases of the thyroid gland. As a result, the water-salt balance is disturbed, and edema appears, including that of the tongue and larynx;
Obesity. Fat deposits in the neck press on the airways.
Snoring in a child
Many are surprised when a baby makes characteristic sounds in a dream. It is worth noting that this is normal for newborns, because their nasal passages are not yet fully formed. In this case, it is necessary to clean the crusts well in order to facilitate breathing. But from the age of 1–2 months, snoring in a child is most likely caused by other factors. It can be:
Adenoids or swelling of the tonsils. Increased fabric prevents air flow;
Obesity. Adipose tissue deposited in the pharynx narrows the lumen for air circulation;
Congenital structure of the bones of the skull. A small and backwardly displaced jaw affects snoring in a child;
Long-term respiratory failure can eventually lead to the development of the so-called “bird” face, which is characterized by the narrowness of all bones, clearly defined cheekbones, a hooked nose, and a small lower jaw. In such people, persistent compression of the airways is formed;
Respiratory infections. The mucous membranes swell and swell, the lymphatic systems are activated, which leads to hypertrophy of the tonsils.
Apnea is a terrible consequence
Snoring is a precursor and one of the primary manifestations of sleep apnea. If it really is, the patient’s relatives observe the following picture: snoring and chest movement are abruptly interrupted, after which the sleeping person draws in air heavily, and then begins to breathe evenly again.
This process goes like this:
The muscles of the pharynx are relaxed;
The airways completely subside, and breathing stops;
To restore their patency, the brain is activated, which sends an impulse to the muscles of the pharynx;
Breathing resumes and the brain goes back into sleep mode;
Everything is repeated anew.
Apnea leads to oxygen starvation, which affects the internal organs. In the future, a person develops hypoxia, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and the course of diabetes mellitus is aggravated. Blood pressure also rises, chronic hypertension develops, and the risk of stroke increases.
In addition, the hormonal balance in the body is disturbed, and the person begins to quickly gain weight, which only aggravates the situation. In men, testosterone levels decrease, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
In order to prevent the severe consequences of apnea, it is necessary to adhere to universal recommendations:
Don’t sleep on your back. If the cause of snoring is the retraction of the tongue, you need to sew a pocket on your pajamas between the shoulder blades and put a tennis ball in it;
Sleep with your head up. This will also eliminate the retraction of the language. This can be achieved in different ways:
- install the bars under the legs of the bed on the side where the pillow is located;
- put a sheet of plywood under the mattress on the opposite side;
- Get contoured pillows to ensure the position of the head.
Do not take sleeping pills or sedatives. Such drugs lower muscle tone, and this, in turn, leads to relaxation of the airways;
Do not drink alcoholic beverages before bed. They provoke a weakening of the muscles;
Monitor your weight. Scientists have proven that the lower the weight of a person, the better his sleep;
Quit smoking. This bad habit leads to the development of chronic inflammation of the trachea and pharynx, which is accompanied by their swelling, and because of this, the treatment of snoring does not work;
Monitor the patency of the nasal passages. If a person has a cold, vasoconstrictor drugs should be used. In case of chronic congestion (polyps or curvature), it is necessary to consult a specialist and decide on the operation;
Use special anti-snoring devices.
Depending on the specific cause, snoring is treated:
Laser or cryoplasty of the sky;
Septoplasty — correction of curvature, removal of tonsils and polyps;
Physiotherapy and medicines;
Use of nasal dilator strips;
CPAP therapy: the use of a special nasal mask connected to a compressor. Thus, air constantly enters the respiratory tract.
Apnea is a serious disease that causes a lot of trouble. Getting rid of this or that cause of snoring is necessary in order to improve the quality of human life. This can be done with the help of various medications and special means. It is also required to follow the recommendations of the doctor.
Otolaryngology. National leadership. / ed. V.T. Palchuna - 2014