Snoring is the sound produced, while sleeping, by the vibration of various structures of breathing apparatus due to blockage of air movement occurring during breathing.
It is commoner in males. Besides being a social nuisance/ disturbance for the spouse and family, snoring is also a health hazard and can be an indicator of much sinister (and even fatal) Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
Snoring occurs because the air passage through the mouth and the nose is partially blocked. This may happen because one or many of the following factors:
– blocked nasal passage,
– excess alcohol consumption etc.
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to those who snore (and this may not be apparent) as well as those around them. It also causes drowsiness during the day, feeling of irritability and inability to focus or concentrate. It may also adversely affect libido.
It has also been suggested that snoring does cause significant psychological effects.
It has been shown in several research studies that loud snoring and risk of heart attack (about +30% increased risk) and stroke (about +65% increased risk) are related.
Almost all treatment approaches for snoring revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage.
- Those who snore, are advised to lose weight (as less fat causes lesser pressure on the throat to block it)
- Quitting smoking is another important recommendation as smoking weakens and congests the throat
- Sleeping on the side is advisable as sleeping straight has the potential of tongue falling back and blocking the throat
- Treatment options available are,
- Treat the physical causes like nasal congestion and the obstruction
- Bring in punctuality in sleeping schedule
- Aids that may work
- nasal sprays
- nasal strips
- nose clips
- oral appliances
Those with OSA need a special device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to control sleep apnoea and the snoring associated with it.
More about OSA, later….
Dr Chander Asrani, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 37 years in family practice and has been offering wellness and disease management services to corporates. He is soon to launch virtual clinics. He writes on various subjects of wellness; learning to live with chronic ailments and stress. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.