Sleep Apnea Syndromes – Snoring

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Seventeenth Edition

A group of disorders in which breathing during sleep stops for >= 10 sec, usually > 20 times/h, causing measurable blood deoxygenation.

Snoring (partially obstructed breathing during sleep) is very common and only rarely indicates sleep apnea. Snoring is three times more common in obese persons; it ranges from being an annoyance to indicating obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring may be worsened by alcoholic beverages, tranquilizers, hypnotics, and antihistamines. Heavy snorers should have a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, palate, throat, and neck.

For snoring, avoiding alcoholic beverages, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before retiring; sleeping prone or on one’s side; or raising the head of the bed may help. Special anti snoring pillows are no more effective than regular pillows or raising the head of the bed. The various devices promoted to reduce snoring usually work well only in mild cases and do not relieve sleep apnea. Nasal infections and allergies should be treated. For heavy snoring, surgically correcting obstructive conditions in the nose, pharynx, or uvula (eg, by laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) may be the only solution if treatment is needed.

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