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Snoring is a loud sound that occurs when your airway tissues narrow. When this happens, airflow becomes constricted. This in turn will cause a harsh, vibrating sound to emit while you sleep. Allergies may worsen snoring as they can cause swelling in the throat region and nasal congestion.
Snoring is a common issue that affects many people. A report from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) shows that over 45% of adults in the US snore on occasion, while 25% snore regularly. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) pointed out that snoring is more prevalent in men than women. They estimated that 40% of men and 24% of women snore regularly.
While snoring isn’t a life-threatening issue, it may be an indication of a severe health condition. Research suggests that individuals who are obese, have a low level of HDL, or are stressed are more likely to snore.
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Types of Snoring
There are 4 types of snoring. Below is an overview of each of them:
Nose-Based: This occurs when the nostrils are blocked. Blocked nostrils are often caused by smoking, allergies, the flu, side effects of some drugs, and a deviated septum.
Throat-Based: This is by far the loudest type of snoring and is often an indicator of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when one’s breathing stops and starts throughout the night. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of health conditions like stroke and heart attack.
Mouth-Based: This occurs when you breathe through your mouth. This type of snoring is often caused by enlarged tonsils, weak palatal tissue, and blockage of the nasal passage.
Tongue-Based: tongue-based snoring is common with people who consume alcohol and use sleeping drugs. It occurs when the tongue becomes too relaxed and blocks the airway.
Symptoms of Snoring
Snoring is often linked with the sleeping disorder obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is important to note that not everyone that snores has this disorder. Below are some symptoms associated with snoring:
- Chest pain, especially at night
- Sore throat
- Trouble concentrating
- Snoring loud enough to disrupt the sleep of those around you
- High blood pressure
- Sleepiness during the day
Diagnosis of Snoring
Your healthcare practitioner will review your medical history and symptoms to determine if you snore. They may ask your partner a couple of questions about the way in which you snore too. This will help to determine the severity of the issue. Below are a few other tests your doctor may carry out:
- X-Ray: With this imaging test, your doctor will be able to thoroughly inspect the structure of your airways and locate the issue.
- Sleep Study: Your doctor may recommend a sleep study if your symptoms are severe. While sleep studies can be done at home, your doctor may ask you to rest at a sleep center if you have other medical issues.
- Physical Exam: Sometimes a physical exam is all your doctor needs to determine the severity and the cause of your snoring.
How to Treat Snoring
After narrowing down the cause of your snoring, your doctor will recommend any of the following treatments:
- Dental Mouthpiece: This helps to keep your tongue in place and keep your airways open.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines: CPAP machines are designed to pump air into the airways to address snoring.
- Palatal Implants: Here, braided polyester strands are carefully injected into the palate to reduce snoring.
How to Manage Snoring
Some easy lifestyle changes that can be made to control your snoring are:
- Quit Smoking: Studies have shown that smoking is linked to sleep apnea and snoring. So if you stop smoking, which is already an unhealthy habit, your snoring won’t get worse.
- Get Enough Sleep: People often snore when they are stressed and sleep-deprived, so try to sleep for approximately 8 hours every night.
- Reduce Alcohol Consumption: One study found that alcohol consumption can increase the severity of snoring. Consume little to no alcoholic beverages at least two hours before going to bed.
- Avoid Sedatives: According to the National Sleep Foundation, sedatives can relax the muscles. This, in turn, will cause snoring. Try not to take sedatives before going to bed.
- How does one prevent snoring? To reduce the odds of you snoring, you need to reduce your stress level, lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your consumption of sedatives and alcohol.
- When should I consult a doctor? You should contact your health care practitioner if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, sore throat, headache, and gasping for air during the night.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!