Snoring disease, a lifestyle affecting about 45% of males and females of the world. Actually this is a illness which if not treated on time can lead to a number of other diseases. Although most of us don’t take it seriously and are not sure whether it is a disease or not, but believe me, all a snorer needs is empathy more than anything else. Although the person doing it irritates people around the surrounding, it is important to remember that people snore because they are in discomfort. Nobody snores because they are comfortable.
Why does a person snore?
People snore when the flow of air from the mouth or the nose to the lungs makes the tissues in the air passage tunnel vibrate. This vibration can be caused due to blockage or obstruction or narrowness of the air passage of nose, mouth or throat. When a person inhales, air goes in through the mouth or the nose. Then it passes through the soft palate located at the roof of the mouth.
The soft palate and the uvula, located at the back of the mouth where the tongue and the upper throat meet are collapsible. When this area collapses, the air passage becomes narrow or blocked which in turn disturbs the airflow due to which the uvula and the soft palate vibrate against the black of the throat causing a person to snore. The tonsils and the adenoids may also vibrate in this process. The thinner the airway, the more will be the vibration and the louder the noise.
When you are awake, you do not snore. Why? Because the muscles of the throat hold the tissues in the back of the mouth in place when you are awake. It is when you sleep, that the muscles relax which makes the tissues collapse. Sleep quality gets affected due to this habit and can lead to a lot of side effects including daytime drowsiness, negative impact on work or education and can affect family life.
Snoring, however harmless it might look, is not so. It can have a lot of side effects. I have named a few below:
Snoring may progress into sleep apnea, a serious condition where a person stops breathing while sleeping. This is a medical condition which needs treatment. A person can stop breathing for as long as 10 seconds and can stop breathing as many as 100 times during one night. The stoppage of breathing causes interruptions in oxygen intake into the body due to which the brain stops working and wakes a person up constantly.
Sleep apnea can affect mental health and relationship. Lack of sleep can lead to crankiness, can affect daily activities and finally lead to depression. The link between snoring or sleep apnea and depression has been long established. Treating sleep apnea is a proven way of getting over the depression.
Snoring and heart disease
Is snoring related to heart disease? Yes. It is a known fact that this habit and heart disease are linked. The link between snoring and heart diseases have long been established. So what is the relation between heart attack and snore? Sleep apnea is closely linked to cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. This, in turn, can lead to an increased possibility of heart attacks. As per various data, people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have a non-fatal heart disease or even a fatal heart attack. If you think is snoring is a sign of heart disease, I suggest you consult a doctor immediately.
As per various researches, it was found, the intensity of the problem is related to carotid atherosclerosis, which is basically narrowness of the arteries of the neck due to fatty deposits which are commonly known as plaque. This can lead to stroke. The louder a person snores, the greater is the risk of long-term stroke.
High Blood Pressure
To begin with, because you are not sleeping well, you run the risk of high blood pressure. Since not enough oxygen flows into the body, the heart and the blood vessels, in turn, have to work much more to push oxygen into the organs due to which the pressure in the blood vessels increase.
People with a long-term problem of sleep apnea develop irregular heart rhythm of arrhythmias. As per research, sleep apnea leads to atrial fibrillation, a common type of arrhythmias. Obstructive sleep apnea enlarges the left atrium over a prolonged period which finally affects the conductive system of the heart.
GERD – Gastroesophageal reflux and liver disease
Is a common disease that most pf the sleep apnea patients suffer from. This is caused due to the disorderly way in which the throat closes while the air moves in and out which causes pressure changes in the body. As a result, the contents of the stomach are sucked back up into the esophagus. This can also lead to fatty liver. Fatty liver and this problem are also linked. These are the reasons why you will find most snorers and sleep apnea patients to be overweight. Once the extra weight is shed, sleep apnea tends to go away slowly.
Snoring and kidney disease
Snoring and kidney failure are also closely linked. In fact, for patients going through dialysis, this habit is considered to be a signal of risk. Patients who are at the 5th stage of kidney disease are considered to be at greater risk when they snore. In fact, it affects about 60% of patients who have chronic kidney diseases.
Snoring and gum disease
Can snoring cause gum disease? The answer is yes, this 2 diseases are linked. Due to irregular breathing, a lot of dental and gum diseases can happen. If you are a snorer, do plan a visit to the dentist.
It also leads to side effects like fatigue, daytime sleepiness, decreased libido, headache, obesity and a lot of other side effects. Thyroid and snoring symptoms are very closely related. Hypothyroidism is a major side effect of this habit. Enlarged thyroid, under active thyroid, overactive thyroid and snoring are all very closely linked.
I have already established how dangerous snoring and sleep apnea is. Now, let me tell you a few ways how you can avoid it:
Control alcohol and quit smoking
To begin with, control the intake of alcohol. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and it relaxes the palates of your throat as well as your tongue. As a result, they fall back on the throat leading to obstruction in the nasal passageway which causes you to snore. Smoking, on the other hand, already has established side effects. Snoring is one of them. Smoking causes blockage in the nasal passage leading to increased vibration. I know quitting smoking is not easy. However, controlling smoking will really help.
Avoid things which make it worse
Several items worsen it apart from alcohol and fatty food. These can be things like sleeping pills, coffee, fatty food, etc. Consumption of these substances can make the throat muscle relax and narrow down the airway. Having excessive large meals and consumption of fatty food restricts airflow into your body by pushing up the diaphragm. It is best to avoid these before going to bed, especially if you are a heavy snorer.
Keep the bedroom clean
Clean the bedroom regularly. Allergens and pollen cause irritation in the throat which can ultimately lead to vibration in the throat. Therefore, keep the bedroom as clean as possible. Change the bed sheets and pillow covers regularly. If you use an overhead fan, clean the blades of the fans regularly as well. Air filters of air conditioners are the main way through which pollen and dust particles enter a house. Clean the air filters of air conditioners regularly. It will not only reduce irritation, it will also increase the chilling effect of the air conditioner. Finally, it is important to sleep in a humid condition.
Dryness causes irritation in the throat and makes you snore. If you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier to keep the room moist. In case you don’t want to invest in a humidifier, take a bath right before going to sleep. That will keep your skin moist and will not only reduce snoring but also help you sleep better.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Improving sleep hygiene goes a long way in controlling snoring. Avoid all types of electronic devices before sleeping. The blue light emitted by the electronic devices affects the brain, causing disturbed sleep or insomnia. Working too long hours right before going to sleep can cause you to snore. Make sure that you relax for at least an hour before hitting the bed. Moreover, avoid any kind of heavy exercise before going to sleep. When the muscles are fatigued, it can cause a negative impact on your sleep.
Use an anti-snoring device
While the above methods are tips which can help, the results are neither guaranteed nor permanent. You can use an antisnore mouthpiece instead and get relief immediately. Mouth guards with advanced technology are available in the market which can help you get relief. They are small, portable and easy to use. And the good thing is that they are so comfortable that you will not feel a thing while sleeping. You may also use essential oils, you will stop the snore for ever. They are also available at a reasonable cost.
Snoring needs to be controlled rather than ridiculed. With a little change in lifestyle and a little outside help, you can prevent this illness and avoid a number of grave diseases.
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