Today, many have come across snoring, or at least heard it when spending the night in a hostel, during long train journeys, etc.
What causes this condition?
The reason for loud breathing during sleep lies in the vibration of the tissues of the soft palate. They appear due to partial overlapping of the pharynx, when the muscular frame temporarily loses its tone, relaxes, and it is not possible to maintain the desired diameter of the airways. This breathing disorder can be either completely harmless or dangerous to health.
Snoring can cause pressure fluctuations in the chest, which, in turn, leads to disorders of the heart.
Today, it is common to distinguish between snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA):
Snoring is a condition in which a person makes loud snoring sounds during sleep, but that’s all. There is no apnea (respiratory arrest).
This happens due to problems with nasal breathing (septum deviation, vasomotor or allergic rhinitis, polypoid rhinosinusitis). Hypertrophy of the tonsils or the root of the tongue, deformation of the jaws, stretching of the soft palate also lead to snoring. This condition does not pose danger to internal organs, there is no risk to health or life, patients do not experience excessive daytime sleepiness. The only disadvantage of this is the discomfort of people who sleep in the same room.
OSA contains loud snoring not only as an independent symptom, sometimes it is combined with respiratory arrest.
Frequent stops lead to the fact that the cardiovascular system begins to work intermittently, it can even cause cardiac arrest. Also, chronic fatigue develops due to systematic hypoxia at night, headaches appear, and cases of decreased potency are frequent. Statistics in the US indicate that 80% of car accidents occur due to snoring drivers who have been diagnosed with OSA. They just fall asleep at the wheel. But for this condition to become so dangerous, it takes time. Until symptoms of cardiac abnormalities appear, a person can snore for quite some time, with a minimal number of episodes of respiratory arrest. Therefore, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Various factors affect the severity of snoring and the frequency with which it intensifies. One of the most common factors is excess weight. It doesn’t only restrict movements of the diaphragm, often there is excessive tissue and subcutaneous fat in the neck and skin of the tongue. They press under the force of gravity on the upper respiratory tract. Also, alcohol and sleeping pills can affect the relaxation of the muscles of the pharynx. Then there is a risk of tragic consequences.
When diagnosing snoring, it is important to determine if the patient has episodes of respiratory failure. If they are present, it is needed to check their severity. If apnea occurs in mild or moderate form, the patient does not experience severe hypoxia, cardiac arrhythmias surgery is indicated. The magnitude of intervention will depend on the individual characteristics of the patient, the presence of intranasal pathology, oropharyngeal anatomy.
If respiratory arrest during sleep is accompanied by significant hypoxia, this indicates a high risk of complications. In this case, surgery in the oropharynx is not performed. The only possible operation is one that will restore nasal breathing. The only way to solve the problem in these circumstances is to reduce body weight while undergoing the correct CPAP therapy.