Snoring - Overview and Facts

 

Snoring is the often loud or harsh sound that can occur as you sleep. You snore when the flow of air as you breathe makes the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate. The sound most often occurs as you breathe in air, and can come through the nose, mouth or a combination of the two. It can occur during any stage of sleep.

About half of people snore at some point in their lives. Snoring is more common in men, though many women snore. It appears to run in families and becomes more common as you get older. About 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers. Men become less likely to snore after the age of 70.

Sleeping on your back may make you more likely to snore. It may also occur as your throat muscles relax from use of alcohol or other depressants. Congestion from a cold or allergies can also cause you to snore.

Snoring can be a nuisance to your partner and anyone else nearby. You may even snore loudly enough to wake yourself up. Though, in many cases people do not realize that they snore. Snoring can also cause you to have a dry mouth or sore or irritated throat when you wake up.

Light snoring may not disrupt your overall sleep quality. Heavy snoring may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder and a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other health problems.

Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea

 

Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea but not everyone who snores has the sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes you to temporarily stop breathing when you are asleep. If you are regularly tired during the day even though you have had sufficient sleep or if your snoring is paired with choking or gasping sound, you may have sleep apnea. A sleep medicine physician is trained to detect and diagnose sleep apnea using an in-lab sleep study or home sleep testing. Sleep apnea is manageable using several approaches including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), oral appliance therapy and surgery.

 

 

Snoring - Causes and Symptoms

 

Causes

 

Obesity, Pregnancy and Genetic Factors

Extra tissue in the throat can vibrate as you breathe in air in your sleep, causing you to snore. People who are overweight, obese or pregnant often have extra bulky throat tissue. Genetic factors that can cause snoring include extra throat tissue as well as enlarged tonsils, large adenoids, long soft palate or long uvula.

Allergies, Congestion and Certain Nasal Structures

Anything that prevents you from breathing through your nose can cause you to snore. This can include congestion from a cold or flu, allergies or deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum.

Alcohol, smoking, aging and certain drugs and medications, including muscle relaxants

You may snore when your throat or tongue muscles are relaxed. Substances that can relax these muscles may cause you to snore. This includes alcohol, muscle relaxants and other medications. Normal aging and the prolonged effects of smoking can also relax your throat and tongue muscles.

Symptoms

The primary symptom of snoring is unmistakable - the often loud, harsh or hoarse noises that you make while you are asleep. Other symptoms may include waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth. 

If you have any of the following symptoms you may have sleep apnea:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Choking or gasping while you sleep

  • Pauses in breathing

  • Morning headaches

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Moodiness, irritability or depression

  • Frequent need to urinate during the night

 

Snoring - Treatments

The treatment will depend on whether the board certified sleep physician finds that you have sleep apnea. If you do not have sleep apnea, the sleep physician and his or her team may offer the following treatments:

Behavioral Changes

 

Weight loss

Weight loss can help reduce or eliminate your snoring for some people. If you are overweight or obese losing weight should be a priority. Weight gain can make snoring worse, and may even lead to sleep apnea.

Positional therapy

For some people, snoring mostly occurs while they sleep on their back. If you are one of these types of snorers, you may be able to improve your snoring by changing your sleep position. There are a variety of products that you can wear when you go to sleep that prevent you from sleeping on your back. You can also attach a tennis ball to the back of your shirt or pajamas. This does not work for everyone.

Avoiding alcohol, muscle relaxants and certain medications

These can relax your throat or tongue muscles causing you to snore. By avoiding use of these substances, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your snoring. Speak to your primary care physician about alternative medications if your medication is causing you to snore.

Treatment

 

Oral appliances

An oral appliance is a small plastic device that fits in your mouth over your teeth while you sleep that stops you from snoring. It may resemble a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. The device prevents the airway from collapsing by holding the tongue in position or by sliding your jaw forward so that you can breathe when you are asleep. A dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can fit you with an oral appliance. Read more...

Surgery

There are a variety of elective surgeries you can have to reduce your snoring. The most common surgeries reduce or eliminate the bulky tissue in your throat. Other more complicated procedures can adjust your bone structure. Read more...

If your snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, these treatments may not be effective. A board certified sleep medicine physician may recommend other treatments, including CPAP, the front-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

 

 

Snoring - Self-Tests and Diagnosis

Does your partner complain that you snore regularly?

Have you recently gained weight or stopped exercising?

Do you have family members that snore?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you either snore or are at risk for snoring. You may want to see a sleep medicine physician if you snore regularly or loudly. If you also make choking or gasping sounds as you snore, you will need to be tested for obstructive sleep apnea.

In addition to a complete medical history, the physician will need to know how long you have been snoring. You will also need to tell the physician whether you recently gained weight or stopped exercising. Be sure to tell your physician of any past or present drug and medication use. If you can, ask your partner, roommate or family member if they have ever heard you snore.

A sleep medicine physician will recommend a home sleep apnea test, or in some cases an in-lab sleep study. A board-certified sleep physician is specially trained to diagnose sleep apnea.

In-lab overnight sleep study

This type of sleep study requires you to stay overnight at a sleep center, in a bed that may resemble a hotel room, or in some cases an actual hotel room. You will sleep with sensors hooked up to various parts of your body. These record your brain waves, heartbeat, and breathing among other things. Physicians usually recommend this test for more complicated or difficult to diagnose cases, as it is more expensive and requires you to stay overnight. Learn more about an overnight sleep study. Read more...

Home sleep apnea test

This type of sleep study lets you sleep in the comfort of your own home while a machine collects information. The testing equipment differs in that it is less complicated than what is used in an overnight sleep study. Sleep center staff will show you how to hook up the testing equipment yourself. After your home sleep apnea test.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea 睡眠呼吸暂停综合征

 

鼾症俗称打呼噜,人们往往习以为常,但如鼾声过大,反复憋气,就是一种严重危害人体健康的疾病,即阻塞性睡眠呼吸暂停低通气综合症――OSA。

鼾症通常由于上气道阻塞所致,一般为三个平面,即鼻、咽、喉平面狭窄,以前两者比较常见。鼻部常见疾病如慢性鼻炎、鼻窦炎、鼻息肉;咽部为增殖体肥大、慢性扁桃体炎及舌根后坠、小颌畸形等;肥胖、全身基础病也是重要原因。

鼾症主要表现为睡眠打鼾、频繁呼吸停止、白天嗜睡、夜尿多、反应迟钝、记忆力减退、性欲降低,严重者可导致冠心病、高血压、心律失常,甚至猝死。

鼾症并不是成人的专利,儿童因增殖体肥大、慢性扁桃体炎而引起鼾症的情况也很常见。严重者可导致颌骨发育畸形、“痴呆”面容及智力障碍。

  
安心:等离子让鼾声“平息”

鼾症的治疗,首先采用睡眠呼吸监测,了解患者打呼噜的原因,根据不同患者的成病原理,采用相适应的治疗方法。

从美国引进的先进的等离子体低温消融技术已被世界卫生组织公认为首选的治疗鼾症的方法之一。在鼻内窥镜下,等离子低温消融技术可瞬间对引起气道阻塞的部位进行消融,改善上气道通气状况,消融过程仅需15分钟。

这种方法技术含量高,对鼻黏膜没有损伤,术中不出血,患者感觉舒适。在对这些患者进行跟踪、抽样后发现,所有患者在治疗当夜即能安静入睡,术后可立刻恢复正常工作生活,很多家庭也因此更加和睦。

 
儿童打鼾切莫大意

医院耳鼻喉科专家认为:儿童睡觉时,上气道松弛,舌根后坠,易使气道狭窄发生通气障碍而出现打鼾现象,容易造成脑部缺氧,严重的还会有生命危险。如果家长发现孩子有打鼾现象,尤其是鼾声响,不规则,应尽早去医院检查医治。


 
打鼾容易引起痴呆症

医学研究认为,鼾症患者痴呆以血管性痴呆为主,在脑血管方面主要改变有:

   一、脑血流量改变;

   二、颅内血液动力学改变。呼吸暂停时脑血流量减少20%―30%;

   三、脑血管血液流变学改变,促发脑血栓形成而发生缺血性卒中;

   四、脑动脉硬化。既可引起血管肉皮损害,又可引起脑血管收缩、脂质沉积,造成脑动脉硬化发生率增加。


为此,专家提醒打鼾者:及早诊断及时治疗,防患于未然。我采用等离子低温消融微创手术治疗鼾症效果显著,欢迎广大患者咨询

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