Nasal Congestion Causes Snoring. During sleeping, the body naturally tries to breathe through the nose. When nasal congestion is present ,it forces mouth breathing during sleep- a greater negative pressure develops behind the uvula and soft palate. This negative pressure increases the vibration of these “noise-makers” (the uvula and soft palate) , helping to create the sound we know as “snoring”.
Although some patients will notice a decrease in snoring after nasal surgery, snoring itself is not a good sole reason to have nasal surgery. In fact, most people who undergo sinus surgery, septoplasty, or turbinate reduction will have improved nasal breathing without affecting their snoring. This is often due to the many other causes of snoring.
Other Causes Of Snoring
Other major risk factors for snoring include: -Obesity -Large tonsils -Long uvula and palate -Large tongue with respect to the jaw size. -In some cases, snoring is a sign of a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea exists when significant breath holding or shallow breathing episodes occur during sleep. A sleep study is generally required to differentiate between snoring and OSA. Similar treatments are often beneficial for both snoring and OSA.
Difference between snoring and Sleep apnea?
Snoring is generally considered the noisy breathing caused by vibrations of the upper airway during sleep in contrast to normal pattern of breathing. Sleep apnea is thought of as a disturbance of this pattern with interruptions and pauses in breathing. After a pause in breathing, there is often a gasp prior to the next breath. Regular snoring is not considered a serious health risk. Snoring has not been proven to cause other medical conditions, and it is generally thought of as more of a nuisance (especially to sleeping partners).
In contrast, obstructive sleep apnea causes both short and long-term consequences to the patient’s health. Signs of OSA include;
-periods of silence during sleep followed by gasps for breath
-the tendency to fall asleep during the day while in the sitting-up position.
Health risks include more than just the decrease in oxygen levels at night during the apnea episodes. They also include:
-Increased risk of cardiovascular disease -Increase in blood pressure -Increase chances of stroke
-diabetes, depression -Increase in weight (obesity) -Increase chances of congestive heart failure
Treatments for snoring and sleep apnea?
Considering the severity of medical diseases that OSA can contribute, it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Once the diagnosis of snoring or sleep apnea is made, the treatment can be tailored accordingly to the patients’ need. The first line treatment for both snoring and sleep apnea rely mainly on lifestyle changes. These include:
-Weight loss (dieting and exercise) -Avoiding alcohol and other sedatives (muscle relaxants, etc), especially prior to sleeping -Avoid sleeping on your back (side or stomach positions are better) -You may want to put a tennis ball into the back of a T-shirt to prevent rolling onto your back at night. (lol) -Some may try oral appliances or nasal dilator strips with variable results
The other types of treatment may be prescribed by your physician could include CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), medications, and occasionally surgery. Unfortunately, there is no single drug or surgery that is a guaranteed cure for sleep apnea or even snoring, although there are surgeries under investigation that may help with this. This is why weight-loss and CPAP remain the two most important tools for controlling this disease process. For severe cases, some patients can even require a tracheostomy to bypass the upper airway obstruction.
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