Sleep Disorder: Snoring
• Incidence and Prevalence
• Conventional Treatment
• Alternative Treatments
OVERVIEW OF SNORING:
Loud and often hoarse breathing sound that occurs during sleep. Snoring
is caused by some obstruction to the flow of air through the mouth and
nose. The sounds of snoring are the result of the vibration of the soft
palate in the mouth.
INCIDENCE AND PREVALENCE
It is more prevalent among men and those that are overweight
There are a number of factors that can lead to obstruction of the airway
• Nasal passages maybe partly blocked as a result of allergies, sinus
infections, deviation of the septum, or nasal polyps.
• The muscle tone of the throat and tongue may be poor and overly
relaxed, causing them to fall back thus blocking the airway.
• Sizable throat tissue is often found with people who are overweight.
Children with tonsillitis present with enlarged adenoids and tonsils
causing them to snore.
• Structural changes in the mouth and throat may be the cause of
snoring. A soft and thick soft palate or elongated uvula may result in
narrowing of the nasal passage from the mouth. During sleep these
structures vibrate and knock against each other partially blocking the
airway which leads to snoring.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SNORING
• Sonorous breathing
Treatment can entail behavioral and lifestyle changes as well as
medical intervention or complementary therapies.
Behavioral and Lifestyle Changes
• Weight Loss
• Sleeping on the side – to prevent the tongue from dropping to the back
of the throat thereby blocking the airway.
• Avoidance of alcohol and sedatives which cause increased relaxation of
the muscles including those in the throat which could obstruct the
• Elevation of head of bed to encourage tongue and jaw to move forward
• Treatment or clearance of nasal congestion – which can be done with
decongestants but restrict use of antihistamines that overly relax the
• Oral or Dental Appliances – these devices help keep the
airways open by advancing the position of the tongue and soft palate.
• Nasal Strips – used to open nasal passages
• Medications such as mild inhaled steroids may be prescribed for
snoring due to swelling of the lining of the nose.
• Surgical procedures include:
• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – tightening and trimming of extra
tissue in the throat
• Somnoplasty – Removal of part of the soft palate by the use of
low-intensity radiofrequency signals.
• Cautery-assisted palatal stiffening operation (CAPSO) –a less costly
procedure than somnoplasty but aims to achieve the same results, namely
palatal stiffening by using cautery equipment to remove part of the
• Nasal Reconstructive Surgery is for those who have abnormalities in
the nose or upper airways. This surgery aims to open obstructed nasal
Magnets are utilized to alleviate and relieve snoring by implantation. Clinical and animal studies have been done that show that when magnets are implanted in the nose with like poles facing, the resulting repelling force keeps the airways open. Others posit that the magnet stimulate the sensory nerves of the nose, opening the nasal passages which prevents snoring.
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