WHAT IS SNORING?
When we go to sleep, our musculature upper airways relax. Sometimes during breathing this causes constriction at the level of the soft palate and the tongue base, by which they start to vibrate loudly: producing snore sound.
Although most snorers do not exceed a noise level of 20-30 decibels (dB), peak values of more than 80-90 dB can be observed which constitutes the volume of for example, busy highway.
WHAT IS CAUSING PEOPLE TO SNORE?
The most common triggers of snoring sounds include:
- Anatomical conditions: such as large tongue, pronounced pharyngeal or palatine tonsils
- Unfavourable jaw position or too small or too short a jaw
- Alcohol consumption
- Drugs: sedatives and hypnotics, antihistamines
- Loss of coordination of the pharyngeal muscles
- Benign polyps
- Male gender
- Advanced age
- Lack of sleep
- Supine position
- Mouth breathing (in case of obstructed nasal breathing)
- Tobacco smoke
- Chronic or acute inflammatory processes or allergic reactions of the upper respiratory tract
A QUESTION OF SEX?
Men snore much more often than women, especially when they are older than 50 years of age - more than half are snoring. Nevertheless, about 40 percent of women snore in this age group (population average: about 20 percent). The cause of the gender difference is scarce, some argue it is because of different types of female fat distribution in the neck area. The fact that the probability of snoring increases with age in both men and women is largely due to the age-related, decreasing elasticity of the tissue in the pharynx.
ILLNESS OR NOT?
First of all, snoring can be a symptom linked to diseases that requires treatment - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, which is exclusivity diagnosed in LF Sleep Laboratory with POLYGRAPHY and DRUG INDUCED SLEEP ENDOSCOPY. If OSAS is ruled out, it means that snoring is not producing breathing problems – it is called "primary or compensated snoring“ and is not considered a disease by International Classification of Sleep Disorders "ICSD-3".
However, this does not mean that snoring is completely harmless, and usually it can be the cause of:
- Serious stress for the relationship - causing partners to sleep in different rooms
- Increased daytime tiredness - snorers are awakened by their own snoring several times in the night with no recollection of the incidents
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PETER JFM LOHUIS, MD PHD
BORIS FILIPOVIĆ, MD PHD
BORIS ŠIMUNJAK, MD PHD
MARINA MILOŠEVIĆ, MD
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