The Types of Snoring That Indicate a Health Problem
Summary: Most people snore at least occasionally, but sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious problem that requires the attention and advice of a doctor, or a sleep specialist. Have a sleep study done if you find that snoring at night interferes with your day.
Everybody snores, from the youngest of us to the oldest. Even animals snore occasionally. Most of the time, snoring is just snoring, but it can also be a sign of something more serious. How do you know the difference? There are a few types of snoring: occasional, habitual, and obstructive. The obstructive kind should concern you.
Sometimes, snoring happens because the nasal airways are obstructed. They become blocked at night, temporarily, because of allergies or sinus infections, or because of a deviated septum or nasal polyps. A deviated septum occurs when the thin wall between the nostrils is not in the absolute centre, and one nostril is larger than the other is. When it is severe, it can cause breathing problems and snoring.
Snoring also happens because of too much muscle relaxation in the throat and the tongue. When these relax too much, they collapse and block the airways, and snoring occurs. This type of snoring is generally mild, occasional, and usually occurs due to deep sleep. The deep sleep may be due to alcohol consumption, sleeping pills, or aging.
Snoring that happens occasionally happens to everyone. When snoring is a problem, there are often some other clues. When the snoring effects your sleeping or interrupts the sleep of your sleeping partner, or others within earshot, then it is a concern. Serious, obstructive snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, which can have different degrees of severity. If you snore frequently and loudly, stop breathing, gasp or choke during sleep, feel excessive restlessness at night or exhaustion during the day, the snoring can be a sign of something serious.
Everyone who has sleep apnea snores, but not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a pause in breathing while asleep. The airways become obstructed and when it is severe, the airways close entirely and people with sleep apnea stop breathing for a few seconds or a little bit longer, maybe as long as minutes. The person with sleep apnea cannot breathe while in a deep sleep, because the airways are blocked; so, they wake up to begin breathing and fall asleep again. These interruptions can happen many times a night. So often, in fact, that a person with severe sleep apnea does not experience a good night’s sleep for many nights.
Even without sleep apnea, snoring that disrupts sleep can be a health problem. It can be a sign of allergies, or a weight problem. Sleep is very important, of course, and if you cannot sleep, it becomes more difficult for your body to fight illness, and so other diseases take over.
Sleep apnea can be a severe health problem, and one that can lead to other health problems. But any amount of snoring that disrupts your life, or your sleep, requires attention. Work on sleeping through the night every night by consulting experts in sleep disorders, like CPAP Solutions Inc. who can help with determining the problem and offering solutions to help with sleep.