Do You Snore At Night? Are You Facing Sleep Apnea? Know It's Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Options


(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Snoring is often dismissed as a harmless nuisance, but its underlying causes and associated conditions can significantly impact one's health and well-being. Snoring is more than just the sound; it also represents how the body functions while sleeping. Let's look at the complexities of snoring, its potential link to obstructive sleep apnea, and how it can be effectively treated.

The Mechanics of Snoring
Snoring happens when there is resistance to airflow through obstructed airways while asleep. Common causes of nasal congestion include colds, nasal polyps, and a deviated nasal septum. Enlarged tonsils, adenoids, bulky throat tissues, and a long, soft palate can all contribute. Additionally, poor muscle tone, particularly in paralyzed patients, and obesity, defined as a BMI greater than 25, can exacerbate snoring. Interestingly, people with a larger neck circumference are also more likely to snore.

Recognizing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While snoring itself may seem innocuous, it can be a hallmark symptom of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep due to airway blockages. This manifests as loud snoring followed by gasping or choking sounds. Along with snoring, people with OSA frequently experience excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, lack of concentration, dry throat upon waking, and memory problems.

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Risks and Complications
Untreated OSA poses significant health and safety risks. It can cause hypertension, insulin resistance, cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, and workplace errors due to poor concentration and daytime drowsiness. Furthermore, OSA has been linked to traffic accidents caused by sudden dozing off while driving.

Diagnosis and Treatment
OSA is typically diagnosed using polysomnography or sleep studies, which measure various physiological parameters during sleep, such as oxygen levels, heart rate, and snoring patterns. Treatment strategies for OSA can be developed based on its severity, which is classified as mild, moderate, or severe.



Weight loss is often recommended for overweight individuals, as even a small reduction can significantly reduce snoring. Sleeping in a lateral position can also help with airway obstruction. In cases classified as moderate to severe, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the primary standard of care. CPAP machines maintain airway patency by delivering a steady stream of air, eliminating snoring and preventing breathing pauses.

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Those who are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy may consider surgical options such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). UPPP involves removing or reshaping excess tissues in the throat to widen the airway.

Bottomline

Snoring may appear a minor annoyance, but it can indicate serious health problems, particularly obstructive sleep apnea. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment are critical for improving sleep quality and overall health and lowering the risks. Whether through lifestyle changes or medical interventions, addressing snoring and OSA can lead to better sleep and a healthier life.

-Authored by Dr. Shivaraj A L, Consultant – Pulmonology, Manipal Hospital Varthur Road

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