Exploring the Snoring Enigma and Solutions for Better Sleep

Exploring the Snoring Enigma and Solutions for Better Sleep

Are you tired of wearing earplugs because your partner won't let you sleep?

Wondering if there's a solution or treatment for snoring? Feeling tired or drowsy during the day?

We can help!

What is snoring?

Snoring is the sound of air passing through the airway turbulently while sleeping.

Imagine your airway as a major highway – when it's in optimal condition, there's no difficulty for vehicles to pass through. However, if that same highway lacks proper maintenance, with potholes, detours, and interruptions, there will be a noticeable deterioration in speed and driving quality. The same goes for the passage of air through our upper airway, as it must traverse several stations, such as the nose, nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx to reach its final destination. If, during the passage through any of these structures, we encounter a cause of turbulence, such as nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy, congestion due to allergies, sinusitis, enlarged tonsils or adenoids (in the case of children), among others, it facilitates collapse and partial or total closure of the airway, leading to fluctuations in oxygen levels during the night. These fluctuations are the culprits behind multiple diseases such as obesity, hypertension, strokes, dementia, behavioural disorders in children, diabetes, and depression, among others.

Is snoring normal?

No, snoring is NOT NORMAL, and it should be evaluated by a specialist. The good news is that we have many alternatives to help you stop snoring. In addition to the discomfort that snoring may cause (especially for bed partners and families of snorers), one of the main problems with snorers is that they may be cohabiting with a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and snoring serves as a warning sign of its existence.

Obstructive sleep apnea refers to partial or total obstruction of the upper airway during sleep, and it is important to study it because it often occurs multiple times during the night. When there is relaxation of the muscles of the pharynx, this closure of the airway deprives the body of oxygen and consequently leads to oxidative stress and the development of multiple chronic systemic diseases.

There are many ways to study a snoring patient, and during the snoring consultation, we dedicate ourselves to a complete evaluation of the upper airway through questionnaires and clinical methods to identify the areas that generate turbulence and obstruction.

Following the otolaryngological evaluation, we will conduct a diagnostic study called Polysomnography, which is very useful because it allows us to observe changes and fluctuations in the functioning of our cardiorespiratory system, oxygenation, quantity of snoring, and presence or absence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Once we have confirmed the diagnosis, we proceed to provide a personalized treatment for each patient and the specific issues they are experiencing.

What options do I have to eliminate snoring?

To eliminate snoring and/or sleep apnea, there are various medical and surgical treatment modalities that can help address the specific cause presented by each patient. One of the alternatives for diagnosis is a study called DISE (Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy). This involves bringing the patient into a procedure room to sleep, induced by anesthetic medications, to simulate real sleep. When the patient starts snoring, we use a tool called a Nasofibroscope, which allows us to visually observe the behavior of the airway during sleep in real-time, identifying the anatomical spaces that are causing the problem. One of the benefits of this study is that it helps us determine if the patient fits a profile that can be surgically corrected.

Is there a natural cure for snoring?

Unfortunately, there is no natural cure for snoring. If you are experiencing it, it's best to seek evaluation. However, there are many treatment modalities for snoring patients as:  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy (CPAP), Myofunctional therapy, Mandibular advancement devices (DAM), Orthognathic surgeries, lifestyle changes and weight loss, Next-generation weight loss medications, and of course, Sleep Surgeries.

Not all treatments work for everyone, and one treatment may not be the only or correct option. The latest research worldwide advocates for personalized treatments tailored to the needs and realities of each patient, which we would be happy to discuss the alternatives with you.

Are nasal dilators an alternative for snoring treatment?

Nasal dilators are more like good indicators that the patient may be experiencing nasal obstruction as one of the causes of snoring. Some users may experience symptom improvement with them; however, they are a possible indicator of the need for functional nasal surgery to improve ventilation and consequently the presence or absence of snoring, if it is the sole cause.

Are there any home remedies to eliminate snoring? How can we prevent its occurrence?

There are different profiles of snoring patients, and preventive measures cannot be generalized for everyone, as they should be personalized to each particular case. However, if you fall into the profile of patients with a short neck, weight gain, and sedentary lifestyle, the best home remedy to avoid snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes balanced eating habits and getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, along with exercising at least 3 times a week. These measures can help prevent the onset of snoring.

Does snoring increase when I'm tired?

Yes, indeed. Generally, when we are more tired, we tend to have deeper sleep, and with the relaxation of muscles, snoring may appear or increase in people who already experience it regularly. Snoring is considered frequent when it occurs more than 3 nights a week for 3 consecutive weeks. Otherwise, it may be occasional snoring caused by other factors, such as nasal obstruction due to allergies or transitional viral or infectious processes.

Knowing When to Seek Medical Advice:

Snoring can serve as a potential indicator of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition characterized by intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep.

If you find yourself or your loved ones including children persistently fatigued during the day, experiencing episodes of loud gasping or choking during sleep, or frequently awakening during the night, it is advisable to consult your Primary Care Physician. Alternatively, for residents of Dubai, scheduling an appointment with the Specialist ENT and Sleep Surgery at American Hospital Dubai is recommended. They can facilitate a thorough evaluation, which may include a sleep study to diagnose OSA.

Regardless, ignoring snoring as a mere inconvenience is unwise. Understanding the underlying causes of your snoring and seeking appropriate treatment is paramount to ensuring you receive sufficient rest and oxygen during the night. Various treatment options exist for sleep apnea, ranging from CPAP machines to surgical interventions, offering avenues to improve your sleep quality.

Dr. Jessica Schwarts Pumar, a specialist in ENT and Sleep Surgery, emphasizes that poor sleep quality resulting from snoring can profoundly impact overall well-being and quality of life. It can precipitate mood disturbances, decreased productivity, heightened accident risk, strain interpersonal relationships, and contribute to a general decline in both physical and mental health. Thus, seeking medical assistance can potentially improve your quality of sleep, benefiting both you and your loved ones.


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