Snoring And Sleep Apnea

Snoring And Sleep Apnea

Is your partner’s snore disturbing you? Hang on! It is not something to fight over but an issue which needs immediate medical attention.

Snoring is due to a blockage in the breathing passage. This might be due to allergies, throat weakness, mis-positioned jaw or tongue and fatty deposits in and around the throat. There might also be a major problem hiding behind the snoring, which is called obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring is the noise that is produced due to the movement of air between the narrow air passage formed by soft tissues at the back of your nose and throat. Snoring in obstructive sleep apnea is a serious problem which interferes with normal breathing while sleeping. A person who is affected by sleep apnea snores when he sleeps on his back and does not when he sleeps on his sides.

Chemistry behind sleep apnea and snoring:

Due to obstruction in the nasal passage, the soft tissues of the throat, soft palate, and the tongue collapses the upper airway which makes breathing difficult for a brief period of time.

To worsen the problem, the airway is being tightly sealed due to the negative pressure of inhaling which makes it harder on the soft tissues. In due course, the person has to wake up to create tension on the muscles, tongue and throat to draw more air to replenish the lungs by opening up the airway. This in turn causes snorting, startling, and waking patterns.

A person affected by apnea, first snores, then stops breathing for a brief period of 10-20 seconds, which quietens the snoring, suddenly gasps for breath and wakes up with snort to inhale more air. This pattern is called sleep-snore-apnea-wake pattern. It is a very disruptive for a normal sleep pattern. This occurs to mostly 93.3% of people with sleep apnea. This pattern will occur for around 100-400 times per night in extreme cases.

Medical Treatment
1. Using of ‘Breathe Right strips’ might relieve the blocked nasal passage during sleep.
2. Wearing a mask at night helps the throat open and improve breathing.
3. Using of decongestants and antihistamine on the nasal passage will prevent it from clogging.
4. Use of special pillows to stretch the neck has been found effective. This method reduces snoring and improves sleep.
5. Sleeping in the upright position helps in improving the oxygen levels in overweight people with sleep apnea. Therefore elevating the head of the bed helps in such scenarios.
6. CPAP: In this method the patient’s nose is covered by a mask. Through that mask the air is supplied into the throat at a predetermined pressure level. The optimal level of air pressure which is sent in, keeps the airways from closing up or obstructing throughout the night. It provides total control over snoring.
7. Turbinectomy: In this form of surgery the nasal passages are opened by removing bone and soft tissues.
8. Dental appliances are specially constructed appliances that will hold the tongue or the jaw forward to open the airway at the back of the throat.
9. Laser surgery can be performed to remove excess tissue from the uvula and soft palate.
10. Injection Snoreplasty, a topical anesthetic is injected to numb the back of the throat and palate. This causes the mouth to stiffen during the next three weeks, thereby stopping the fluttering of palate which causes the noise in snoring.