By Maryse IsmaSpecial to CSMS Magazine Up to 80% of men and 30% of women snore on occasion. Unfortunately, most people dismiss snoring as nothing more than nuisance. That is a mistake. Snoring can be a sign of potentially serious health problems. For example, obese people often snore. So do those with sleep apnea, in which breathing stops periodically during sleep. Both conditions increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Anyone whose snoring is loud enough to disturb a bed partner—or is accompanied by morning headache or daytime fatigue—should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) who specializes in sleep disorders.Main causes of snoring
This condition is defined as a complete or partial breathing blockage occurring more than five times an hour or more than five times an hour or more than 40 times during eight hours of sleep. Many sleep apnea patients stop breathing hundreds of times per night. The sufferers must arouse themselves from sleep to start breathing again, which prevents them from getting restful sleep. Studies have shown that patients with sleep apnea may be so fatigued during the day that have slower reaction times drunk drivers.Sleep apnea is usually caused by excess tissue in the throat that sags and obstructs the flow of air. The condition primarily affects overweight men and women. Men with a neck size of 17 inches or larger have the greatest risk of developing the condition. Both apnea and snoring can be significantly improved when patients lose weight.AlcoholDrinking depresses the central nervous system, increase relaxation of throat muscles and prompts congestion by dilating blood vessels in the nose. Just one to two drinks can make snoring worse. It’s fine for most people to have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner if snoring is mild—but don’t have a nightcap within two hours of bed. People with loud or frequent snoring may want to give up alcohol for few weeks to see if it helps.
These benign growths are usually caused by persistent infections and/or allergies. A polyp no larger than a pencil eraser can obstruct normal airflow and cause snoring. Polyps usually disappear once nasal inflammation or infection is treated with medication. If they don’t go away—or keep coming back—you may need to have them surgically removed in a 30-to 60-minute outpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia.