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SNORING IS NOT A MINOR PROBLEM

Posted by Elizebath Bijoy Monday, February 6, 2012

If you or your close ones snore regularly, it is time you stop considering it a minor problem and seek medical help 

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. This wise quip by an English literary great sums up how difficult snoring can be on those living with a snorer. Sleeping with a snorer can cause the partner fragmented or lack of sleep; in the case of spouses, it is known to hamper their relationship as well. But for the snorer himself, snoring can be the tip of an iceberg of sleep-related disorders that need medical attention. 

Loud, unpleasant and embarrassing snoring happens due to obstructed air movement during breathing. Like any sound, snoring too is caused by vibrations that causes particles in the air to form sound waves. Just as our vocal cords vibrate to form our voice, turbulent airflow cause the tissues of nose and throat to vibrate which results in snoring. However, the health hazards are often overlooked. Excessive snoring, for instance, can mean sleep apnoea - a disorder where one suffers extremely low breathing during sleep. 

Snorer's woes 
While deep sleep is key to normal body functioning, snoring obstructs you from getting there. Sleep quality is important for secretion of essential hormones such as growth hormone, melatonin and cortisol. When sleep quality suffers and harms hormone functioning, it leads to several problems such as obesity, early ageing, lethargy and hypertension. A snorer's body struggles to breathe, leading to drop in oxygen supply to the blood which in turn triggers faster heart rate to prevent oxygen deprivation. Contrary to popular perception snorers are not always fat with thick necks, and can have any body type. 

Thin people with slim necks are prone to snoring just as loudly. Sleep medicine specialist Dr Preeti Devnani says snoring must always be medically investigated. "Examining one's snoring can unravel complex sleep disorders. A hyper tensive who snores, for instance, is likely to have sleep apnea which can cause premature stroke, reduced immunity and heart ailments," she says. So it is advisable that a snorer consults an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist and undergoes a few tests to assess its seriousness. 

How it happens 
When we sit or breathe at ease, air flow from our nose or mouth to lungs is steady. Under exertion, like while exercising, air quickly glides through the nose or mouth generating audible breathing sounds. In sleep, the area at the back of the throat narrows at times. The air passing through the breathing apparatus causes tissues surrounding the opening to vibrate, producing snores. Various types of snoring too indicate what the problem could be; closedmouth snoring points at a tongue problem, openmouth snoring could be due to throat tissues, snoring while sleeping on your back is often mild snoring that is easily curable; while snoring in all postures may indicate that it needs serious treatment. With age, snoring only worsens. 

Snap out of it 
Simple lifestyle alterations can greatly reduce snoring. Lose weight, quit smoking, avoid alcohol and heavy dinners to conquer snoring. Sleeping on your side helps reduce snoring and as does using higher pillows that help deconstrict your throat. You can also try nasal strips that aid in breathing or a throat spray that softens the soft tissues. As for medical treatments, dental appliances such as oral devices and jaw-positioners help open up the airway. Serious snorers may resort to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which is a machine that blows pressurised air into a mask that you wear over your nose or face. This keeps your airway open during sleep. In extreme cases, surgery can increase the airway size by removing or rectifying tissues. 

Sleepless nights 
A few months ago, software engineer Sachin Mahamuni moved to Mumbai from Pune. He shares his experience of living with a 'snorer' in a rented accomodation: "For the first week, I couldn't sleep a wink. My roommate would snore incessantly and in the silence of the night, it sounded amplified. All I needed after a long day's work, was a night's rest and I just couldn't get myself to sleep. I spent many restless nights and slept only in the wee hours of the morning. I'm so tired that I've learnt to sleep through it." 

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Warm welcome to my health blog! This was introduced with an objective to educate and spread awareness among people, encouraging them to live healthier lives with longevity. Let me emphasize that our contemporary situation in individual’s life are so fast moving that we tend to neglect and spare some moments for our own health. My inspiration has turned into passion in a health care that turned into a blog. The ample of support and response was tremendously changed into positive results. I dedicated this blog for all those people who are very conscious for their health and life style. Hope so, I can bring differences for healthy living the fore my viewer comments are always valuable and your continued patronage is important for me. Wish you a happy and healthy life ahead!

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