Explain Snoring And Its Types


Published On: 18th June 2019
Last Updated On: 19th June 2019

Definition of snoring

It is an undesirable offensive and quite disturbing sound produced during sleep

The ratio of snoring among males and females

It is estimated that round about 25%of adult males and about 15%of adult females snore quite loudly during sleep and its prevalence increases with age due to certain age factors and medical conditions

Mechanism of snoring

When muscles of the pharynx (conical fibromuscular tube forming the upper part of the air and food passages and narrowest part of the digestive tract apart from appendix) are relaxed during sleep they cause partial obstruction and when breathing occurs against this obstruction vibration of the soft palate, tonsillar pillars and base of tongue produces sound

The intensity of sound produced during sleep

Sound as loud as 90dB has been recorded during snoring

Types of snoring

Commonly it is divided into two types primary and complicated

Primary snoring

It is a type of snoring which is not associated with obstructive sleep apnea and has no relationship with excessive daytime sleepiness and has an apnea-hypopnea index of less than five

Complicated snoring

It is a type of snoring which has a strong association with obstructive sleep apnea

  • Sleep apnea

It is a condition in which breathing ceases during sleep but fortunately, it is a temporary process and lasts for 10 seconds or some more and less than five such episodes is quite normal in healthy people

  • Causes of snoring

Different age groups have different causes of snoring

  • Children

In children, the most common cause is adenotonsillar hypertrophy

  • Adults

In adults, the cause can be due to problems in different anatomic sites it can be due to problems in nose and nasopharynx such as turbinate hypertrophy, septal deviation, nasal valve collapse, nasal polyps or tumors. Problems could be in oral cavity and oropharynx such as elongated soft palate, elongated uvula, tonsillar enlargement, retrognathia, macroglossia, tumors of the tongue or large bases of the tongue. Problems can also occur in larynx and laryngopharynx such as laryngeal stenosis, or omega-shaped glottis

Some other important causes

Other causes include obesity that is if your BMI is more than 30 and very thick neck with collar size exceeding 42cm almost. Use of hypnotics, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and alcohol aggravates snoring as they cause further muscle relaxation and leads to further partial obstruction and production of irritating sounds of snoring

Sites of snoring

Sites of snoring differ from patients to patients and even sometimes sites of snoring are multiple even in the same patient. The site can be soft palate, tonsillar pillars or hypopharynx. As site differs from patient to patient it makes surgical correction a very difficult process

Other symptoms present in snoring patients

Snorer with obstructive sleep apnea may present to a doctor with many other problems such as

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness which can lead to disturbance of daily life activities
  • Morning headaches. It is quite troublesome and firstly it should be differentiated from other psychiatric and medical conditions and if this is actually due to snoring than immediate remedy should be sought because due to this symptom daily life is disturbed a lot
  • General fatigue.  As it should also be firstly differentiated from medical and psychiatric problems, because we all know that there are many causes of general fatigue like anemia, hypothyroidism, renal issues and severe depression and so on and this problem is very difficult to bear so immediate treatment should be started if the patient develops this symptom along with snoring
  • Memory loss. It can also occur in Alzheimer or depression but it a quite alarming and heart grieving symptom so requires a lot of care and attention
  • Irritability and depression. These symptoms are a problem in themselves and a different entity that cannot be left untreated or the way they are
  •  Decreased libido. Marital life could be disturbed due to this
  • Increased risk of road accidents. Well this is not dangerous for oneself but also for the lives of other people too and every single human being’s life is very important

Problems faced by couple due to snoring

Snoring can lead to a special syndrome known as snoring spouse syndrome and which is the main cause of marital discord and often leads to divorce

Social problems due to snoring

The patient often feels embarrassed when he/she plans for a sleepover with friends or families and this brings patients the confidence to the base levels and as a result, he/she avoids sleepover with friends and families and restrains himself from parties and get together events.

Problems that snoring can lead to

  • Depression and anxiety.

Depression is a condition in which patient has a low mood, lack of interest in daily activities, easy fatigability and sleep and appetite also gets disturbed. Anxiety is a condition in which patients feel palpitations and is restless. So snorers can easily get these medical issues as they lose their self-esteem and feel entirely alone and avoid people and consider themselves as an outsider and do not mix with people and anxiety can be easily seen in them

  • Heart attack and stroke.

Snorers are more prone to cardiac problems and stroke. Heart attack occurs due to blockage of blood flow to heart and due to this ischemia myocardial cell death occurs and leads to failure of heart. Stroke is a medical condition in which blood flow to brain is blocked and this also leads to death or brain cells and stoke is basically of 2 types ischemic and hemorrhagic

  • Diminished sexual satisfaction.

As a person cannot relax/herself properly due to snoring problem and feels irritated every time as their whole routine is disturbed due to daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and easy fatigability so they cannot get sexual satisfaction.

Doctor’s way to diagnose the cause of snoring

Doctors use different strategies to diagnose the cause of snoring and special sleep centers are meant for this purpose. doctors go for history and physical examination and they also take aid from different imaging techniques like doctor ask you to go and have your x-ray, computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging done to visualize the anatomy of nose and pharynx and search for any such cause such as deviated nasal septum tumors or any other structural abnormality that could because of snoring

Sleep study

It is a non-invasive test done in sleep labs to monitor the activity of your brain and body during sleep . It is an excellent way to know one’s snoring pattern and to know whether he/she is suffering from sleep apnea or not it is usually done in hospitals or special sleep centers which are built just for the sake of knowing one’s behavior during sleep. Polysomnography which is a special type of sleep study is considered gold standard for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea

Types of sleep study

There are many different techniques of doing sleep studies but the most common one’ are

  • Simple sleep study. It is a very simple method and can be easily carried out at home
  • Polysomnogram. It is a very informative non-invasive way of knowing several body functions during sleep like breathing rate and rhythm, cardiac pulse and rhythm respiratory and abdominal movements while breathing, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, snoring and so on
  • Multiple sleep latency tests. It determines the time taken by a person for sleeping like how long one can sleep and it determines REM sleep pattern after sleeping
  • Maintenance of wakefulness test.
  • Home sleep test. It is also called as out of sleep center test and is a diagnostic test for detecting sleep apnea and for performing this test portable equipment are sent to one’s home to easily perform this study

Advantages of sleep study

It is used to know several things about human body some of them are as follows

  • Used for detecting several breathing disorders like obstructive sleep apnea
  • For diagnosing epilepsy or other seizures disorders
  • Used to detect restless leg syndrome
  • Used to detect insomnia like disorders and to know the cause of insomnia if it do exists
  • Used to detect narcolepsy
  • Used to detect circadian rhythm sleep disorders
  • Used to detect sleepwalking syndrome
  • Used to know or detect bedwetting and the most possible cause behind this
  • Used to detect bruxism
  • Used to know different stages of sleep and to carry out studies about different particular stages of sleep like REM and non -REM

Treatment modalities for snoring

Well different methods can be used to treat snoring problem and the most common of these is lifestyle modification and rest of them are some devices which are quite effective and some homeopathic treatments and last option when no other remedy will work is surgical treatment

Lifestyle modification

  • Avoid alcohol. It relaxes the muscles of the throat and hence snoring worsens after taking alcohol
  • Sleeping pills and sedatives. When we avoid them throat muscles get relaxed and hence interfere with breathing
  • Losing weight. As we know that excessive weight is the main culprit for snoring so losing even a bit of weight will reduce the amount of fatty tissue at the back of the throat and snoring problem will come to an end
  • Sleep on the side. Sleeping on your side can stop snoring so many things can be used to stop sleeping on back for this purpose one can use tennis balls and other harsh substances placed on the back so when one tries to sleep on back he/she will get hurt and will sleep on side and once a person develops this habit of sleeping on side then no aids will be needed to stay on one side
  • Sleep position. Sleeping on high pillows or using 2 or 3 pillows can reduce the snoring problem
  • Clear nasal passages. Clearing nasal passages can also reduce snoring .rinse nose with normal saline before going to pet and if you have allergies to dust or other things clear them from your bedroom and if u can’t do anything then take anti-allergens as prophylaxis
  • Stay well hydrated and get enough sleep. This strategy will also reduce snoring and your depression and anxiety will also get reduce when you will have enough sleep
  • Vitamin c. vitamin c boosts our immune system and clears the sinuses and hence helps in stopping snoring .lemons and oranges are rich in vitamin c
  • Do not take heavy meals before going to bed. Consuming large meals and fatty meals before sleeping can make snoring more badly
  • Exercises. Exercise not only helps in reducing weight but also helps us to tone our muscles .not only the muscles of our legs arms are toned but the muscles of our throat also get toned and hence helps in curing the problem of snoring. Well different exercises can be done for this purpose one of the  simplest of them is to repeat the vowels (a,e, I,o,u) loudly three times a day
  • Singing. singing is a fun and healer of snoring so singing before going to bed reduces the problem of snoring

Medical treatment for snoring

  • Continuous pressure airway pressure (CPAP).it is a machine placed near pillow that provides us continuous air with balanced pressure through the mask which we put on face and nose and hence help us in reducing snoring

Homeopathic treatment for snoring

  • Aromatherapy. In this therapy different oil is used one of them is marjoram oil available in a jar and this jar is opened in the night and room get filled with its fragrance and hence helps us in snoring problem
  • Neti pot. It is used in different countries especially in INDIA from many years ago .it is shaped like an Aladdin lamp and it helps in clearing the sinuses and flushing the allergens from nasal passages
  • Taking 3 to 4 sips of olive oil before going to bed can also reduce snoring
  • Rubbing peppermint oil on side of the nose can also reduce snoring as it has an anti-inflammatory action on membranes of nostrils

Anti snoring devices

These devices which help in reducing snoring and are quite successful , some of them are as follows

  • Mouthpieces. Mouthpieces include tongue stabilizer devices and son on
  • Vital sleep
  • Good morning snore solution
  • Zquiet

Surgical treatment for snoring

Surgical treatment is the last option and it has usually opted when all the remedies fail some of the surgical procedures are as follows

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
  • Laser-assisted uvuloplasty
  • Palatal stiffening operation
  • Palatal surgeries
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • somnoplasty
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