If you've ever snored, you know how embarrassing it is. It can shatter quiet moments in your life. And if it’s loud enough it can keep your spouse awake all night. But snoring is more than an annoyance. It can be a sign that you're at risk for stroke or heart disease. The good news is, there are things you can do about it - you can either do lifestyle changes or treat with home remedies. For snoring associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), medical treatments are available upon consultation to the doctor.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30 million people in the United States suffer from snoring. Snoring occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax and narrow, causing a noisy airway obstruction.
Most commonly affected by this condition are males, alcohol drinkers, those with obesity, those with nasal problems or with narrow airway and those with a family history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring.
What are the different types of snoring?
Below are the four types of snoring:
Nasal snoring - this occurs when there is an obstruction to the nasal passages.
Mouth snoring - this is the type of snoring caused by breathing through the mouth while sleeping which may be due to blocked nasal passages.
Tongue snoring - this is identified by an inconsistent high pitch sound.
Throat snoring or sleep apnea - this a serious type of snoring that requires medical attention and is considered the loudest of snores.
What causes of snoring?
While most people associate snoring with the leading cause - sleep apnea (serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts) - this may actually indicate a mild or serious health problem.
Snoring is a common problem that can be caused by many factors such as allergies and colds, being overweight, and consumption of alcohol and sedatives.
Other factors may also be due to nasal congestion/obstruction, turbinate hypertrophy, structure deformity of the upper respiratory tract, sleep position, sleep deprivation and other nasal problems.
How is snoring diagnosed by the doctor?
Snoring isn’t just a source of frustration for sleep partners; it may also signal a serious and potentially dangerous sleep disorder.
To confirm this condition, your doctor will have to do a physical examination and review of history as well as your signs and symptoms. In some instances, sleep study may be requested or an X-ray, CT scan and MRI. This is to check for any obstruction and if there's any problem to the airway or its structure such as a deviated septum.
How do you treat snoring?
Here are some tips to combating snoring and getting a better night’s sleep: choose a good mattress, raise the head of your bed, sleep on your side, use a humidifier, avoid alcohol and sedatives, and to lose weight if you are overweight. Furthermore, it is also necessary to get enough sleep, to quit smoking, and to treat any nasal congestion or obstruction.
In severe cases, medical devices or surgery may be required by the doctor to minimize or treat snoring.