Snoring: Symptoms and Treatment

Snoring is such a specific process that changes the breathing of a person during sleep. Snoring, the symptoms of which are also found in animals, are characterized by the appearance of a rattling low-frequency sound accompanied by vibration.

General Description

Snoring, as a sleeping phenomenon accompanying, occurs quite often, at least once in his life, every person encountered him. As the main reason provoking the appearance of snoring, there is excessive relaxation of lingual muscles, pharynx and soft palate during sleep, which leads to the appearance of a characteristic vibration. During the night sleep, rare snoring occurs in almost everyone, regardless of the urgency of any predisposing factors. This phenomenon is quite normal, special treatment is not required in this case.

In some cases, due to loud constant snoring, sleep disturbances occur, which is also accompanied by drowsiness throughout the daylight hours. A separate place snoring takes on its consideration as a factor provoking the emergence of conflict situations in the family, where, for obvious reasons, it really becomes a problem, but already for others. So, it is known that loudness of strong snoring can reach 112 decibels. The person with his snoring, as a rule, does not hear, and basically this phenomenon becomes an obstacle for the sleeper beside, because the time of his falling asleep in many cases directly depends on the degree of its intensity and duration. In some cases, snoring interferes with a person who is nearby, even in a dream. All this, as is understandable, causes reasonable irritability, not snoring «neighbor» wakes up in the morning tired, sleep with such «interference» often becomes difficult.

Let us dwell once again on the principles of the «mechanism» of snoring. The turbulent flow of air, formed during snoring, appears in the tissues of the throat and nose, vibrating while the person is sleeping. Such a flow of air is caused by a narrowing factor at a certain point of its passage, whether in the throat, mouth or nose. The causes of such narrowing can be completely different for each person.

As we have already noted, each person can snore, while on the basis of the results of the study it is revealed that at least occasionally snoring occurs in 30% of women and 45% of men, respectively. Special characteristics on the basis of which it could be argued that a person is prone to snoring is not, that is, there is no correlation between the likelihood of snoring and between a constitutional type that is relevant to a particular person. Meanwhile, it is noted that as the weight increases, the intensity of the appearance of snoring increases.

The position taken during sleep also plays a role in the characteristics of the manifestation of snoring. Considering the fact that in the main tissues of the pharynx are characterized by their own flexibility and softness, the position of «lying on the back» leads to the fact that under the influence of gravity the tongue, tonsils and palate stretch as if in the opposite direction. Against the backdrop of such an effect, the airways narrow to such a state that a turbulent air stream arises, in which, as already indicated, tissue vibration begins and, accordingly, snoring occurs.

As the main reasons provoking the appearance of snoring, there are the actual for a particular patient anatomical features, the use of alcohol and some medications, as well as the presence of certain diseases. Muscles of the throat with natural aging of the body are subject to weakening, and therefore snoring can occur in this case.

In addition to those inconveniences that are invariably present to surround a person with him, he also carries a certain danger for the snoring himself. The fact is that snoring is accompanied by the blocking of access to oxygen, in connection with which a short-term stop of breathing occurs during sleep (this state is also designated as a syndrome of obstructive apnea). It stops along with breathing and palpitations, and therefore there is a risk of a fatal outcome due to a complete stoppage of breathing.

Snoring: Causes

  • Curvature of the nasal septum. In this case, there is a deviation in the location of the nasal septum, at which it is somewhat offset from its normal mid-point position. Because of this, the passage of air occurs in the presence of additional resistance, which leads to the appearance of snoring. In itself, the curvature of the nasal septum can be either congenital in nature of origin, or acquired (mainly here is meant the previous trauma of the nose in which the corresponding effect affected the position of the nasal septum).
  • Polyps in the nasal cavity. Polyps are the overgrowth of the nasal mucosa to the lumen of the nasal cavity or similar pathological proliferation of the paranasal sinuses to the same site. Because of these variants of pathological processes, the lumen of the nasal cavity is subject to narrowing, as a result of which a person begins to snore.
  • The altered state of the tonsils (i.e. adenoids). In particular, we are talking about increasing them. Snoring in children often occurs precisely for this reason.
  • Actual congenital anomalies, in which the structure of the upper respiratory tract was affected. As this type of anomaly, one can denote the narrowness of the nasal passages, the large tongue, the soft elongated palate, the small size of the lower jaw, etc.
  • The presence of malignant lesions in the nasal cavity or in the nasopharynx. As an example, you can designate a nose cancer. As for the reason for snoring in this case, it consists in the growth of such formations directly in the lumen of the respiratory tract, which, in fact, causes snoring.

There are some individual factors that influence excessive muscle relaxation, which provokes the appearance of snoring:

  1. smoking;
  2. use of hypnotics
  3. alcohol use
  4. reduced thyroid function
  5. excessive fatigue
  6. obesity (or, as already indicated, weight gain).

Based on the above features, you can identify specific diseases that, as a result of the actual impact on them, can cause snoring:

  • curvature of the nasal septum
  • hypothyroidism;
  • adenoids (in children), hypertrophy of pharyngeal and palatine tonsils, soft palate
  • the altered anatomical structure of the upper respiratory tract;
  • obesity;
  • Apnea
  • Sinus infection
  • Polyps
  • tumor pathology
  • alcoholism
  • viral infections accompanied by nasal congestion
  • tonsillitis, etc.

Snoring: symptoms in which it is dangerous

Considering that snoring as a whole acts as a manifestation familiar to one degree or another in intensity, the symptoms of snoring, in fact, consist in its appearance during sleep as a separately considered phenomenon, therefore any concretization on this point We will not give. Meanwhile, I would like to stop, first of all, on when snoring becomes dangerous.

Rare snoring during sleep, in principle, can not be a cause for concern, in addition, it does not indicate the relevance of any deviations, being a normal phenomenon and treatment does not require. However, some cases of the appearance of snoring are associated with a fairly serious illness, such as obstructive sleep apnea, which we outlined in short, above, it is abbreviated as OSAS.

OSAC is such a disturbance of breathing during sleep, during which there is no breath for a certain time (from ten seconds to several minutes). At this time, a person does not usually wake up himself, for the very same reason, for a long time, he may not even know that there is a problem of breathing during sleep. The OSAS has its own characteristic symptoms, in particular this:

  1. loud snoring throughout the night
  2. the presence of periods during which breathing stops completely for a period of ten seconds to several minutes, with the respiration restored then independently, accompanied by a loud snort (ie, exhalation), and such seizures can be repeated often enough throughout the night , Which makes the quality of sleep noticeably impaired;
  3. daytime sleepiness, headaches, feeling of inferiority of night rest after awakening, constant lack of sleep, all these sensations are actual even if this sleep is provided for a sufficient period (8 hours or more)
  4. Often, apnea syndrome, as well as snoring, accompanying it, appears in overweight patients, in addition, heart rhythm problems, hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), in some cases sudden death (In a dream).

Snoring in children

This phenomenon for children is also not an exception, the following factors can cause snoring:

  • rhinitis (which is also a common cold)
  • Congenital or acquired anomalies that directly affect the structure and nasal cavity (tumor formation, nasal polyps, curvature of the nasal septum, etc.)
  • OSAS (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, discussed above), this factor, incidentally, can also be a reason for declining academic performance, daytime sleepiness and irritability, moreover, because of OSAS, there may be problems in the development of the child.

Snoring: myths associated with the disease

According to the general description of the specifics of snoring, its features and consequences, the reader has certainly been able to determine that it is not so harmless and commonplace. This, meanwhile, does not always cause a departure from the myths that have developed about him. There are a few of them, we will explain them below, explaining at the same time why they are actually such.

  • Snoring, although a phenomenon and causing some discomfort to the environment, is not a disease, however, as it is in itself harmless.

As previously we have already identified, this is not entirely true. In general, snoring can not be denoted as a disease, but this does not detract from the seriousness of the attitude towards it. The fact is that snoring is an indicator of the presence of certain diseases, in other words — it acts as one of the symptoms on the basis of which such diseases can be assumed. These are chronic diseases such as tonsillitis, rhinitis, adenoiditis, sinusitis.

In addition, snoring can indicate the presence of certain forms of hypertrophy or the presence of neoplasms in the nasal cavity. Again, among the disease-causing diseases, we have already considered the above OSAS. Because of the drop in the blood level of oxygen accompanying this condition, hypoxia (asthma) develops, as a consequence — the morning pressure increase. Because of apnea, a stroke or myocardial infarction may develop. And, finally, the most serious reason for this condition is death in a dream, due to the fact that patients are simply choking (on average, this phenomenon is in 6-7% of cases).

  • Snoring can not be treated without surgery

This statement, if it sounds somewhere, also belongs to the category of myths. The decision to choose a specific method of treating snoring is taken solely on the basis of the results of his comprehensive examination, and it is not at all necessary that the choice will be made in favor of surgical intervention. That is, in some cases, accordingly, it will be sufficient to use methods of conservative therapy against snoring, due to which it will be possible to affect the respiratory tract. As for the operation, it may be necessary only if certain anatomical features of the palate are present or when nasal breathing is disturbed. Treatment of snoring, regardless of the reasons that caused it, should be comprehensive. For example, snoring with excess weight (with obesity) excludes the expediency of performing an operation to get rid of snoring, because you need to get rid of the root cause, that is, of excess weight, which, of course, also requires its approach and measures.

  • Snoring is a male problem

Again, and this is not entirely true. Yes, it is noticed that men are predisposed to a greater extent to snoring, but for women the problem of snoring also does not lose its relevance. In other words, regardless of age or gender, snoring can «trap» any person.

  • The doctor can not adequately assess the patient’s condition because it is impossible to directly study his sleep and snoring at night, therefore, as a basis, he appeals only the description of the patient and people close to him and general information about the patient’s snoring and lifestyle. That is, the absence of a serious study, including a night sleep of the patient, deprives the specialist of the possibility of an adequate diagnosis.

Again, this is not entirely true, given the capabilities of modern medicine, including in terms of diagnosis. Based on this, it can be argued that a patient’s examination can be comprehensive and accurate, which in turn determines the possibilities for developing specific directions in treatment in each case. Diagnosis can be based on a number of measures: functional tests, visual examination of ENT organs, examination of the nasopharynx and paranasal sinuses using the method of computed tomography (on the basis of which it is possible to determine where exactly the upper respiratory tract is obstructed).

Snoring: treatment

As already indicated, the treatment of snoring should be complex, with an impact on its root cause and with possible treatment, also possibly required in this case. In the presence of polyps, for example, treatment can be either conservative, that is, using medication, or operative, that is, polyps in this case are subject to surgical removal. Treatment of snoring in adults requires the need to abandon bad habits, to adjust the regime, and, if necessary, to reduce weight. Principles of conservative therapy (drugs) are developed strictly individually, based on the general picture of the manifestation of the problem of snoring, as well as on the accompanying features of the patient’s condition and the causes of snoring provoking.

There are also some devices that can be used to get rid of snoring (a clip from snoring, a special compressor for feeding air into the respiratory tract under some pressure during apnea, etc.). Correction of snoring in a dream (as well as correction of apnea) can be provided at the expense of certain activities developed by the attending physician. To improve nasal breathing, as well as to reduce lymphoid pharyngeal structures and soft palate, somnoplasty (the method of radio wave surgery) or laser plasty can be used.

If you have a problem such as snoring, especially if it is accompanied by apnea, you need to contact an otolaryngologist (LOR).