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Otolaryngologists find the causes of snoring and avert possible dangers
Sawing breath noises not only prevent you from sleeping and strain some relationships, they also put a strain on your health. Experts distinguish between the relatively uncomplicated "primary snoring", which hardly affects the breathing of the sleeping person, and the harmful "obstructive snoring", which impedes breathing so much that it regularly stops for a short time when sleeping. However, since this so-called sleep apnea can develop from harmless snoring, ENT doctors also advise "normal" snores to have the cause clarified by a specialist.
"In most cases, a decrease in tension in the pharyngeal muscles of the upper airways causes the pharynx tube to vibrate," explains Detlef Freise, board member of HNOnet-NRW. The upper airways consist of a tube with lots of muscles. They sometimes go limp during sleep, the tube collapses somewhat at these points and is vibrated by the breath current. Anatomical constrictions in the nose and throat increase the vibration. So far there is no way to specifically strengthen the muscles. After all, experts now know which "malefactors" cause the muscles to relax. “Obesity and alcohol have a negative impact on the night noise. Therefore, even small changes in lifestyle can help you and your partner to get a good night's sleep.
For example, overweight also affects the muscles of the upper respiratory tract. "Heavy weight makes it harder to breathe calmly," explains Freise. A few kilos less on the ribs therefore often make a significant contribution to reducing the audible consequences. Alcohol in turn lowers muscle tension in the upper respiratory tract. Avoiding heavy food, the cozy after-work beer or a glass of wine can therefore be an enrichment for some. Last but not least, it depends on the lying position. Most "harmless" snores sleep almost noiselessly when they are lying on their side.
However, if all of these tips have no effect or if those affected feel tired and restless during the day, it is advisable to seek the advice of an ENT doctor. He finds the reasons for nightly restlessness in a detailed discussion and in-depth investigation and treats possible organic causes in a targeted manner. In addition to sagging pharynx muscles, polyps, deformities of the nasal septum or enlarged tonsils are possible triggers. In some people, the airways are completely closed for a short time during sleep. Then there are breathing interruptions with wake-up reactions that absolutely need medical clarification and treatment. "Apnea patients not only suffer from the consequences of a lack of recovery, but also run the risk of complications such as heart attacks, strokes or accidents due to chronic fatigue," warns Freise. However, sleep apnea can now be successfully treated with modern technology. (pm)
Image: Stephanie Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de