If you thought snoring was a matter for joking, think again!
There is enough Scientific evidence out there to link your snoring with heart disease, strokes, pulmonary hypertension , and sudden death.
Snoring is very common, specially in males above middle age. Men with short fat necks are specially prone to snoring. Though making a sound while sleeping at night may not be so dangerous, it is the apnoea associated with snoring that aggravates the health risks.
The mechanics are as follows -
At night the muscle tone of the oral cavity relaxes so that tissues start approximating each other - breathing through a narrowed airway is like blowing a flute - it will produce a sound - this sound is snoring. This continues till, because of the Bernoulli phenomenon, the surrounding tissue gets sucked in - this reaches a stage when the upper airway gets completely choked. Because the airway is now blocked the body stops breathing - this is the phase of apnoea. The snoring sound stops and the patient's partner is relieved that the sound has stopped - but this is actually the dangerous situation - since the body has stopped breathing Carbon Dioxide levels continue to rise. The rise in CO2 levels prompts the body to wake up since it senses a threat to its existence. The person takes a deep breath and Oxygen levels rise and CO2 levels fall.
After some time the person starts snoring again and the whole cycle keeps repeating itself all through the night.
This has two effects
- Because of fall in Oxygen levels the heart and lungs are affected
- Because of frequent arousals the brain does not get adequate sleep at night and the body is tired and sleepy during the day - a condition called 'daytime somnolence.'
This requires detailed evaluation to look for the cause of your snoring as well as a "sleep study" at night to check your parameters while you sleep at night.
Diagnostic Work UP
Once you visit the Specialist with your snoring problem the doctor will evaluate you.
1. ENT Check Up- Snoring occurs maximally from the throat- Oropharynx. The tongue is the bulkiest organ in the throat and the single organ most responsible for your snoring. The Tonsils, Palate, Uvula, Nasopharynx also contribute to snoring and sleep apnoea. Nasal problems including deviated nasal septum, turbinate enlargement, nasal polyps, nasal masses, adenoid enlargement (in the nasopharynx) all contribute to snoring.
2. Endoscopy - Various endoscopic procedures including examination under induced sleep are carried out to look for the site/s of the blockage
3. Imaging- radiology helps to pick up the most obstructed sites, it also helps us to quantify the amount of blockage
4. Polysomnography - Sleep Study- an overnight detailed test during the period of sleeping. The test is usually carried out in two parts-
- First part - Sleep pattern is evaluated including checking of vital parameters (Pulse, respiration, ECG, BP, SPO2 levels etc). In case there is significant evidence of obstructive sleep apnoea we proceed to the next stage.
- Second Part - the examiner hooks you up with a CPAP machine and finds out the difference in your vital parameters and your sleep quality after using the device. The machine's titration is also measured. A detailed study report is created
Snoring Versus Sleep Apnoea
Snoring is a social nuisance - a cause for embarrassment and a nuisance for the person sleeping next to you. Snoring is noisy sleep without periods of Apnoea ( a state of non breathing).
Sleep Apnoea - when there are brief periods at night when you stop breathing - is a medical condition with serious long term repercussions.
- Exercise regularly - aerobic activity - this improves oropharyngeal muscle tone
- Reduce weight - weight reduction goes a long way in reducing snoring
- Give up smoking and alcohol - both of which promote Snoring.
2. SURGICAL TREATMENT - Septal correction, Nasal Polyp removal, Turbinates reduction, Adenoid removal (usually in children), Tonsillectomy, palatal reconstruction surgeries, base of Tongue reduction, Hyoid suspension, Mandible advancement etc.
3. CPAP MACHINE - Air is pumped in at increased pressure so that tissues that collapse are pushed back and the snoring stops. Most of the new machines are self titrating and automatic. Portable units (for the frequent traveler) are also available.
Remember - do not ignore Snoring - get it evaluated to find out the cause and seek treatment.
If you are looking for an ENT Specialist then please click on the link and get an appointment.
Call At +919871150032