Is your snoring dangerous to your health? Does your partner want to leave the bedroom because their snoring has become unbearable? We carry out these clarifications as part of our snoring consultation.
If sleep is not restful over a longer period of time or if the person sleeping next to you complains and even notices breathing stops, snorers should take action.
Snoring is caused by vibrations of the mucous membrane of the throat, especially when the walls of the inside of the throat come close to each other during sleep. If the walls touch and thus close the airway during sleep, this is called sleep apnoea. During this time, the body is no longer supplied with oxygen and the oxygen concentration in the blood drops. As a result of the lack of oxygen, there is an awakening reaction of the brain, the sleeper usually does not notice this.
Occasionally, patients wake up from sleep with feelings of suffocation. The breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to over a minute. Usually their partner also notices this during the night. Patients often feel unrested in the morning and are also tired during the day.
The transition from annoying snoring to mild to severe sleep apnoea can be smooth and usually gets worse after weight gain. Many people snore after they reach the age of 40.
In an initial consultation with the doctor, it is decided which diagnostic methods are necessary to detect or exclude sleep apnoea. If nasal breathing is also impaired, we also measure the airflow through the nose (rhinomanometry). A simple measurement of pulse and oxygen saturation (ambulatory pulse oximetry) provides indications of whether frequent oxygen deficiencies occur during sleep. If this is the case, a more precise sleep analysis (respiratory polygraphy) is carried out, which can also measure the stages of sleep, the length of breathing pauses, the snoring sounds, in relation to the position of the body during sleep. This is used to calculate the AHI (apnoea-hypopnoea index), which is a measure of the severity of sleep apnoea and is important for deciding on therapy. In addition, a sleep endoscopy under anaesthesia is possible to localise the constrictions in a sleep-like state.
Surgical therapy options:
To improve nasal breathing: straightening of the nasal septum, reduction of the nasal conchae, soft palate lift, tightening of the base of the tongue, tonsillectomy.
Non-surgical therapy options:
Apparatus aids, depending on the individual situation, age and dental status:
Sleep backpack, soft palate braces (Velumount® original, www.velumount.ch/de
Braces to move the lower jaw forward (protrusion braces) CPAP therapy (CPAP- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, www.lungenliga.ch
The aim is to keep the airway open at night.
Protrusion dental splints:
Reduction of body weight:
Weight gain is accompanied by an increase in the circumference of the abdomen and neck. Fat reserves are also built up in the neck and between the muscles, which further constrict the available space in the neck. At the same time, the lungs and stomach are pushed upwards. The lungs can no longer expand optimally when breathing.
Why does my child snore?
There are usually anatomical reasons for this. Enlarged palatine tonsils or a growth in the adenoids ("polyps") are often the cause. Symptoms can include frequent mouth breathing, middle ear infections, but also speech development delays.
If there are short pauses in breathing, there is a lack of oxygen in the blood and the sleep rhythm is interrupted. Affected children (mostly between the ages of 3 and 6) act hyperactive, can be aggressive or unfocused.
If you notice these symptoms, you should consult your paediatrician, family doctor and/or an ENT specialist. Removing the adenoids or reducing the size of the palatine tonsils can cure many children.