What is Snoring?
Snoring is a common condition which affects at least 30% of the adult population on a regular basis. Snoring it is a potentially serious problem which may have long-term medical and social consequences. Spouses, partners and others in the household can suffer chronic sleep deprivation, leading to fatigue, annoyance, bad moods and marital disharmony. Snorers may be embarrassed to travel on business or holiday for fear of disturbing others with the noise of their snoring. Treating snoring has been shown to improve quality of life and marital harmony.
Snoring represents a spectrum from snoring alone through to conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), in which the airway at night doesn’t just vibrate and produce snoring, but also intermittently closes. Conditions such as this can result in daytime sleepiness and long term health problems, and are therefore important to diagnose and treat.
Snoring can be caused by a wide range of factors, which is one reason why there is no single cure!
Only by carefully assessing the upper airway, including the nose and throat, can the most likely causes and site of snoring be determined.
Snoring Clinic Newcastle
We have the latest techniques to enable OSA to be investigated, and these can be done overnight in the patient’s own home. This measures snoring, breathing patterns, oxygen levels and pulse rate. It will enable an overnight diagnostic sleep study can be undertaken in their own home which measures snoring, breathing patterns, oxygen levels and pulse rate. This information will enable the doctor to make a diagnosis of sleep apnoea.
What is making the noise?
Snoring is the sound of vibration of one or more structures in the airway. The most common location of snoring is the soft palate and uvula. Other common areas of vibration are the walls of the throat just behind the soft palate (roof of your mouth) or just behind your tongue. This area is called the lateral walls of the pharynx. The base of the tongue can also vibrate and make noise. Often multiple sites are involved, however the palatal vibration is usually the loudest and the first one addressed when treating snoring.
What causes snoring?
The vibration is caused by rapid pressure changes in the airway. The areas where air travels quickly when you breathe in have to be identified, these happen to be the narrowest areas. The rapidly flowing air causes the airway to get sucked closed, the airflow stops, the pressure returns to normal, and the tissue goes back to its resting place only to be sucked shut again. This happens many times every second to cause the snoring noise.
Where are these narrow areas that cause snoring?
Anywhere and often in multiple areas. The sites are different in everyone. Answering this question requires a full nose and throat examination and possibly by measuring the airway pressures at night by undertaking an extended sleep study whilst you sleep at night.
Does everyone require a sleep study?
No. At your initial consultation an investigation plan will be discussed. This may be complete at the initial visit and a treatment plan commenced, or some further tests may be required before an appropriate treatment plan can be determined.
Do I have to have surgery?
There are a wide variety of treatments including lifestyle changes, weight loss, night-time ‘bite’ splints and radiofrequency treatment to the palate.
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