Adult Snoring: All you need to know
Snoring is a familiar problem that impacts several people at some stage in their lives.
It occurs when an individual’s upper airway tissue vibrates, making them breathe noisily while they sleep.
Snoring itself may be a symptom of a serious health condition such as obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore excessively or very loudly, you might need medical attention.
Snoring occurs when the air flowing into the mouth and nose are blocked. Numerous materials can interfere with the flow of air, including:
- Blocked nasal airways: Several people snore during flu season or when they have a sinus infection. Difficulties with your nose such as a deviated septum (when the wall that divides one nose from the other is off-centre), nasal polyps could also obstruct your airways.
- Inefficient muscle tone in your throat and tongue: Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed, enabling them to collapse into your airway.
- Bulky throat tissue: it can be caused by becoming overweight. Few children have huge tonsils and adenoids, which make them snore.
- Long soft palate /uvula: A long soft palate or a long uvula (the hanging down tissue at the end of the mouth) can restrict the opening from your nose to your throat. When you breathe, it causes them to vibrate and brush into each other, and your airway is obstructed.
- Drug and Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol or taking muscle relaxants might also end up making your tongue and throat muscles loosen up far too much.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The doctor will likely inquire about your medical history and conduct a physical exam to check for anything that may obstruct your airways, such as a deviated septum or swollen tonsils. They could also issue you a few tests:
- Imaging tests: X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans can check for issues in your airways.
- Sleep study: You may need a machine to record your sleep when you are at home or spend the evening in a lab for a polysomnography screening test. It will monitor stuff like your heart rate, breathing, and brain activity when you’re sleeping. Severe the AHI (Apnea-Hypoapnea Index), graver is the Obstructive Sleep Apnea condition and necessitates urgent treatment.
Treatments for snoring include:
- Lifestyle changes:Weight loss is recommended in those who are overweight.Avoiding alcohol and smoking is advised.
- Oral appliances: You place a tiny plastic device in your mouth when you’re sleeping. It holds your airways open as you move your jaw or tongue.
- CPAP: A continuous positive airway pressure machine addresses sleep apnea and can alleviate snoring by pumping air into your airways as you sleep.
In severe cases where the above treatments do not suffice Surgical procedures are also available.
Surgical treatments to modify airway anatomy, known as sleep surgery, are diverse and should be customized to the specific airway obstruction needs of a patient. The surgeries are help clear the obstructions at various levels like nose, palate, tongue base and hypopharynx.
The various surgeries that may be performed include:
- Septoplasty is a surgical procedure for straightening the Deviated nasal septum.
- Turbinectomy is a surgical procedure in which all or some of the turbinate bones are removed to relieve nasal obstruction.
- Tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy help to increase the size of the airway.
- Removal or reduction of parts of the soft palate and some or all of the uvula, such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP). Modern variants of this procedure sometimes use radiofrequency waves to heat and remove tissue.
- Reduction of the tongue base, either with laser excision or radiofrequency ablation.
- Genioglossus advancement, in which a small portion of the lower jaw that attaches to the tongue is moved forward, to pull the tongue away from the back of the airway.
- Hyoid suspension, in which the hyoid bone in the neck, another attachment point for tongue and pharyngeal muscles, is pulled forward in front of the larynx.
- Maxillomandibular advancement – This procedure surgically creates more space for the tongue in the oral cavity.
The trouble and discomfort caused by snoring to you and your loved ones are quite understandable. Get in contact with the experts at Aahan ENT Clinic to make an appointment and to know if this snoring is due to an allergy or obstruction of airways because of enlarged adenoids or tonsils and get the help you need.