Snoring – most people snore at some point in their lives, but is it a sign for concern? Snoring can be normal, but in some cases, it may be a sign of a serious underlying health condition. If you have a snoring problem and are wondering if it is something you should be worried about, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the basics of snoring, what causes people to snore and how to identify signs that may indicate it is dangerous. If you are searching for a reliable snoring specialist in Singapore, we might be able to help you with that!
A snorting, whistling, grumbling, rattling sound or even a quiet vibration that is produced during sleep is referred to as snoring. When you sleep, the muscles relax, narrowing the airway. The moving air causes the tissue to vibrate and generate noise as a person breathes in and out. However, this muscle relaxation during sleep is not the only instance that can cause snoring; any obstruction that disrupts the normal passage of air can cause snoring.
Let’s look at some of the main factors that can interfere with airflow and cause snoring:
- Age – With age, the airways tend to narrow as a result of the decreasing muscle tone. This poor muscle tone can cause snoring.
- Anatomy – Individuals who have a low and thick soft palate are more likely to snore as their airway is narrow. The risk of snoring is higher if an individual has an airway defect such as a deviated septum.
- Gender – Males are more predisposed to snoring as their oropharynx (middle section of the throat) is usually larger than in women.
- Inadequate sleep – If you are experiencing sleep deprivation, this can cause your muscles to relax even further, resulting in snoring.
- Sleeping position – If you tend to sleep on your back, you are more likely to snore. This is because when you lie on your back, the soft palate and base of your tongue collapse to the back wall of your throat, creating a vibrating sound while you sleep.
- Weight – Being overweight or obese can add extra pressure to the airways and compress the passage due to the excess fat.
- Pregnancy – The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy causes blood vessels to dilate and the mucous membranes to swell. These changes can constrict the airway and cause you to snore.
- Family history – Snoring tends to run in families, so if you have a family member that snores, you would be more prone to snore.
- Overall health – Any underlying medical conditions can play a role in snoring, such as nasal congestion and allergies.
The consumption of alcohol can also relax the throat muscles and contribute to this condition. In addition, certain medications, such as sedatives, can further exacerbate this condition. Therefore, it is important that you do not attempt to self-medicate. An experienced snoring specialist in Singapore will ensure that the proper assessment and treatment are carried out to provide you relief from snoring.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Snoring?
Whether your snoring is dangerous or not will depend on type, severity, and frequency. The types of snoring can be classified into three broad categories – light snoring, which is usually considered harmless and requires no further investigation or snoring treatment. Primary snoring, on the other hand, occurs more than three nights a week and may require testing to come to a diagnosis. However, if individuals do not have sleep apnoea or experience sleep disruption, there will be no cause for concern. The third type is snoring related to obstructive sleep apnoea; this type needs medical attention as it can have certain adverse consequences, such as stroke and cardiovascular issues if left untreated.
Let’s walk through some signs that may indicate your snoring is dangerous:
You Are Constantly Exhausted
Daytime drowsiness is a key indicator of poor sleep. If you are feeling exhausted and you snore a lot, it could be due to sleep apnoea. Daytime sleepiness can reduce the quality of life and may have severe implications, such as driving accidents.
Gasping or Choking Sounds While Sleeping
Family members usually notice this, but some snorers may wake up often from sleep without them even realising it.
You Are Diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
OSA is a common sleeping disorder that interferes with normal breathing. Frequent episodes of partial or complete closure of the upper airway characterise this condition.
You Have Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
While hypertension alone may not be a warning sign, the presence of other telltale clues can indicate a more sinister issue. Hypertension can result from OSA. The sympathetic nervous system of the body activates and increases blood pressure every time a person briefly stops breathing.
You Have a High Body Mass Index (BMI)
As mentioned previously, individuals carrying excess weight are at a higher risk of snoring. The extra fat around the neck region can directly impact the upper airway, and obesity has been known to have a link to OSA. Therefore, if this is a factor that is contributing to your condition, your snoring specialist in Singapore may recommend weight loss as part of your snoring treatment.
Snoring – Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to make the correct diagnosis, your doctor for snoring in Singapore will take a detailed medical history which a physical examination will usually follow. Additionally, you may be required to undergo a few investigations, such as a sleep study (polysomnography), allergy testing, nasal endoscopy and various other imaging tests.
The snoring treatment plan will differ from person to person – the symptoms, causes, and patient compliance will determine this. The specialist may initially focus on non-surgical options like cold and allergy medication (if allergies are a factor in the problem), and implementing certain lifestyle changes, such as abstaining from alcohol, losing weight, adopting better-sleeping positions, and using nasal strips or oral appliances.
If there is obstructive sleep apnoea, your doctor may recommend the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to help keep your airways open during sleep.
If these remedies are ineffective or not well tolerated, they may have to consider surgical snoring treatments like tonsillectomy, ablation therapy, and laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty.
Amandela ENT Head and Neck Center – Your Trusted ENT Clinic in Singapore
If you are seeking medical guidance to relieve snoring, Amandela ENT Head and Neck Centre has got you covered. Our practice aims to provide subspecialty care for every patient and will ensure that you will receive support and assistance every step of the way. Get in touch with our dedicated and friendly team today.