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Snoring

Definition

Snoring is partially obstructed breathing during sleep, causing a harsh, rough sound from the passage of air through the mouth, throat and nose. Snoring ranges from being an annoying problem for bed partners and the household to a potential health threat to the snorer.

Description

Snoring is the production of a harsh, rough sound caused by the passage of air through the mouth, throat and nose during sleep. It can occur intermittently during colds, 'flu or throat infections because of the production of phlegm and the swelling of tissues at these times. It almost always occurs at night. The sound is due to the vibration of the uvula or soft palate with the movement of air in and out of the mouth. The uvula is the piece of tissue that can be seen hanging down the back of the throat when the mouth is wide open, and the soft palate is the back part of the roof of the mouth, to which the uvula is attached.

In some people snoring is more serious and can be a health risk. Snoring may be associated with periods when the breathing stops completely for up to a minute. This problem is known as sleep apnoea and is due to collapse of the soft tissues of the throat during sleep. Snoring can prevent the sufferer as well as the bed partner from getting a good night's sleep. The annoying problem causes more stress usually for the people around the snorer, rather than the snorer. It may help to change the position of the sufferer. Sleeping on the back appears to be worse than sleeping on the side.

Studies show that Snoring is three times more common in overweight people. Approximately 20% of the population are habitual snorers and more men than women suffer from the problem. Snoring tends to increase from age 30 to 65, but thereafter it reduces. If the person is overweight, loss of weight is often very beneficial. Sedatives, alcohol and smoking will all aggravate Snoring. If the problem persists it may be of benefit to see a Doctor. There are a few rare diseases that may cause Snoring and these must be excluded. There are different types of drug therapy a Doctor may try if the Snoring is a serious problem. It has been noted that people with large tonsils and small receding chins may suffer from snoring.

Treatment Options

As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. Ask your Doctor about the latest advice on this ailment. Heavy Snorers should have a thorough medical examination of the nose, mouth, palate, throat and neck.

Diet Hints

It is important to have a well rounded, nutritious diet at all times. A healthy diet includes carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals), protein (lean meat, fish, eggs and dairy products) and fats and oils (butter, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils). The diet should focus on raw, fresh foods, in particular fruits, vegetables and Wholegrain cereals. Foods to be avoided or kept to a minimum include fatty or processed meats, deep fried foods, cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, ice cream, chocolate, butter, margarine, cream, tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages. Snoring may be made worse when a large meal is eaten at night. Avoid heavy, rich meals at night or have the evening meal a few hours before bedtime. Alcohol consumption in the evening is also thought to promote Snoring.

Pharmacist's Advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  • Ask your Pharmacist about a product which helps keep the nasal passages open at night. This drug-free mechanism has proven effective in reducing the incidence of Snoring in some people.
  • Your Pharmacy may stock a special pillow which will help to minimise the problem by keeping the person in the right position to avoid Snoring.
  • There are several products on the market which are reputed to help stop Snoring. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
  • Lower the intake of alcohol especially before bed.
  • Lose weight if necessary.
  • Set up a regular sleep pattern so that the snorer does not go the bed feeling absolutely exhausted.
  • As some snorers suffer from nasal congestion or a deviated septum ask your Pharmacist about nasal strips which reduce the incidence of snoring in some people.
  • Avoid taking sedatives.
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