Snoring is a process that is accompanied by the appearance of rattling low-frequency sounds in a person during sleep. This phenomenon can occur in both adults and children. Although the number of adults who face this problem is several times greater. According to statistics, every fifth person suffers from snoring. At the same time, men are slightly more prone to its development than women.
The mechanism of snoring is that during sleep, the soft tissues and muscles of the oropharynx and pharynx relax. As a result, they retract, which prevents the normal passage of air through the respiratory tract. The danger of this process lies in the fact that due to the difficult passage of air through the respiratory tract, oxygen starvation can form. In itself, oxygen starvation causes a serious blow to all organs and systems of the body, especially the central nervous system.
Anatomical causes of snoring
Among the main causes of snoring, the first place is occupied by the anatomical features of the structure of the pharynx and oropharynx. These include adenoids, elongation of the palatine uvula and soft palate, hypertrophic processes in the tonsils, and deviated septum. Let’s look at each of the reasons in more detail.
The most common cause of snoring in childhood and adolescence is the adenoids. Adenoids are overgrown lymphoid tissue, which is part of the nasopharyngeal tonsil. Many reasons can lead to the development of a hypertrophic process. In most cases, they are represented by a group of infectious and allergic diseases. Due to the fact that the nasopharyngeal tonsil increases in size, the lumen of the oropharynx narrows. And, as we said earlier, during sleep, the tissues of the oropharynx also relax on their own, leading to its narrowing. As a result, it becomes even more difficult for air to pass through the respiratory tract.
In addition, an increase in other tonsils of the oropharynx can also lead to the development of such a disorder. Very often, under the influence of infectious diseases, a hypertrophic process is formed in the palatine tonsils. Due to the fact that they become more voluminous, the lumen of the oropharynx also narrows. At the same time, in some cases, a very small gap remains for the passage of air. This leads to the fact that the breathing process is difficult, and in order to breathe, a person has to make significant efforts, which entails fluctuation of the pharyngeal muscles.
The palatine uvula is a kind of process that extends from the soft palate. Normally, he takes part in the formation of sounds during a conversation, controls the process of swallowing and prevents food from being thrown into the nasopharynx. In the event that it lengthens, there is a narrowing of the lumen of the oropharynx, difficulty in the passage of air and the development of characteristic symptoms.
Other common causes of snoring are a deviated septum and being overweight. If the nasal septum is deviated, this entails a narrowing of the nasal passages. In addition, with an irregularly shaped septum, additional nasal congestion is often found. Snoring is the result of a person making an effort to breathe. The development of this disorder with excess weight is explained by the fact that adipose tissue has a compressive effect on the airways, leading to a decrease in their lumen.
Diseases caused by snoring
As mentioned earlier, snoring is very often the cause of gradually developing oxygen deficiency. Against this background, many pathological conditions and diseases can appear.
The first is chronic fatigue. A person complains of a feeling of constant weakness and weakness. There is a significant decrease in performance and increased drowsiness. This is directly related to the fact that the central nervous system receives an insufficient amount of oxygen, which entails the inhibition of inhibitory processes in it.
Another very dangerous condition is obstructive sleep apnea. In this case, periodic short-term cessation of breathing between bouts of snoring is implied. The mechanism of its development lies in the fact that, due to any external or internal reasons, the narrowed airways close even more, which makes the breathing process impossible. A person suffering from such a disorder experiences constant fatigue and weakness, in some cases he may experience asthma attacks.
Under the influence of snoring, diseases such as hypertension, heart attack, stroke and other diseases of the cardiovascular system can occur. An increase in blood pressure in this disorder is due to the fact that the body does not receive the amount of oxygen it needs. He reacts to this by a sharp narrowing of blood vessels, due to which blood pressure rises.
Snoring treatment and prevention
The principles of treatment are selected depending on the cause of snoring. In the event that a person has an increased body weight, he needs to make efforts to reduce it. If there are any anatomical defects in the oropharynx, for example, enlarged tonsils, surgical intervention is possible. In some cases, to eliminate this violation, it is enough to change the position of your body during sleep. For this, special pillows and other devices can be selected. In some cases, in the presence of respiratory diseases, vasoconstrictor drops, inhalations, and so on can help.
In addition, at the moment special intraoral means are put into use. These include mouthguard-type devices and mouth-lobe applicators.
To prevent this condition, you should contact a specialist at the first signs of snoring. This must be done so that he establishes the cause and helps to get rid of it most effectively.