` Could there be more to your snore?

Could there be more to your snore?

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What causes snoring?

Snoring usually occurs as a result of an obstruction to the air flowing through the mouth and the nose due to blocking or narrowing of the nasal passage. Some of the common causes of this obstruction include a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps (growths), weak muscles of the tongue, excessive tissue in the throat, or enlarged adenoids and tonsils.

Does snoring indicate an underlying health issue?

Soft and occasional snoring may not indicate anything serious. However, if the snoring is frequent and accompanied by sleep disruption and shortness of breath, a doctor must be consulted as it could be due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Untreated OSA can lead to cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and even stroke.

Who is more likely to snore?

Anyone can snore but it can be more prevalent in some people due to pregnancy, obesity, irregular shape of the nasal bone, large tongue, swollen tonsils and adenoids or congestion due to cold and allergies. The use of anti-allergy medications can also cause snoring.

How to prevent snoring

Usually, mild snoring can be prevented and reduced by making simple lifestyle changes such as losing extra weight, avoiding the use of alcohol before sleeping and sleeping on the side. However, if the snoring is frequent, one must seek medical help for further investigation.

#1 - Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Overweight and obese people are more likely to snore. Therefore, one should consume a balanced diet and exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Disrupted sleep can also result in snoring, thus, one should maintain a sleep schedule by going to sleep at the same time every night.

#2- Changing sleeping positions

Sleeping sideways is recommended as lying on the back causes the tongue and soft palate to collapse and fall back, creating a vibrating sound during sleep. Elevating the head of the bed by at least 4 inches with the help of an extra pillow or by tilting the bed upwards can prevent snoring.

#3 - Using devices to aid breathing

In some cases, doctors may recommend devices to help open the airways and prevent snoring. These devices include nasal strips applied to the bridge of the nose, chin strap and oral shield to keep the mouth in a closed position and a tongue stabilizing device to hold the tongue from falling back towards the throat.

What to avoid

One must avoid the use of sedatives, anti-allergy medications, and alcohol consumption before going to bed. These things relax the muscles present at the back of the throat and collapse the airways, resulting in breathlessness and snoring.

When to contact a doctor

A doctor must be consulted if a person snores more than three times a week or gasps, snorts or chokes while snoring. One must also seek medical assistance if the snoring is accompanied by daytime drowsiness, headaches in the morning, chest congestion, high blood pressure or frequent urination during the night.

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