(Is snoring a serious disease?) Many women complain that their men snore a lot on some night and distract their sleep. What could be the cause?
“Snoring not only disturbs sleeps for those around, but also affects the quality of sleep of the individuals who snores”. Says Dr. J.Makaya of Mwanza Hospital in Tanzania. The author of this article interviewed the doctor following a social discussion on how to cope with snoring partners raised by some women in a hairdressing saloon.
According to Dr Makaya, snoring is caused by relative reduction in the size of the upper air passage especially around the throat. This reduction in the size of airways results in obstruction to airflow which are associated with brief periods where breathing stops (apnea). These periods of cessation of breathing are followed by period of partial awakening hence the disturbance in quality of sleep.
To an observer, the above may be noted as period of change in the rhythm of breathing (snoring), tossing and turning. The person snoring may be blissfully un aware of all what is happening only to wake up the next morning feeling tired and not and not well rested. “ In the more sever forms there may be increased day-time sleeping ness and change in mood and personality,” stresses Dr Makaya.
The period of apnea (they could be as many as 400 per night) is associated with increases in the level of carbon dioxide in the body. The body reacts to increased level of carbon dioxide by increasing the heart rate and by narrowing of the blood vessels. This reaction strains the heart as it not only has beat faster, but also has to use greater force to propel blood through the narrowed vessels.
This strain may lead to hypertension and enlargement of heart (hypertrophy) thereby making the individual susceptible to a host of heart conditions.
Snoring occurs during sleep because there is relaxation of muscles of the upper airways allowing for partial collapse to occur. It occurs more commonly among those who use alcohol as this acts as a depressant to the muscles and also depresses the protective reflex responses to cessation of breathing, so prolonging the apneic attacks.
Obesity is another factor associated with snoring, as there is an increase in fat deposition around the upper airways leading to their narrowing.
In children, blocked nose, enlarged tonsils
And upper respiratory tract inflammations are important causes of snoring.
In solving snoring cases, Dr. Makaya says that,” You should reduce the amount of alcohol if you are a drinker, reduce your weight if you are over weight and get respiratory tract inflammation treated. This should be done in addition to simple measures such as change in the position in which you sleep, because sleeping facing up leads to the airway blockage. It is advisable to sleep on the side or facing down in the recovery position. If the problem persist the then consult an E.N.T specialist.