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Persistent snoring: an indication of an underlying medical condition

Your snoring may make you the brunt of jokes at family gatherings however it can be an indication of a more serious nasal obstruction. According to the National Sleep Foundation snoring affects 90 million American adults, of which 37 million suffer from the problem regularly. It can affect both genders and causes an interrupted sleep for both you and your partner and can result in poor concentration during the day.

“Snoring is defined as a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose, throat (upper airway). It is caused by turbulence inside the airway during inspiration. The turbulence is caused by a partial blockage that may be located anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. The restriction may occur only during sleep, or it may persist all the time and be worse when we are asleep,” said Dr. Madhusudan Shendre, ENT Surgeon at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai. “This is because our muscle tone is reduced during sleep and there may be insufficient muscle tone to prevent the airway tissue vibrating. During waking hours muscle tone keeps the airway in good shape; that’s why we don’t snore when awake.”

“Nasal congestion or the swelling of the nasal tissue is usually brought on by allergies, viral infection or environmental irritants such as dust, which can cause nasal obstruction. This usually results in snoring for a few days,” he continued. “However persistent nasal obstruction can also be caused by a deviated nasal septum. The nasal septum is a structure that divides your nose in to two cavities. When the nasal septum is crooked it is referred to as deviated and results in the blockage of one or both sides of the nose. This can be corrected through an outpatient surgery where the bone and cartilage causing the deviation is straightened.”

Persistent snoring is also caused by chronic sinusitis. Everyone experiences headaches, runny noses and even ear infection at least once a year. However for chronic sinusitis sufferers this is part of their daily lives.

“Sinuses are air pockets in the cheekbones, low center of the forehead, between the eyes, at the nasal bridge and in bones behind the nasal cavity. During a viral or bacterial infection, the walls of the sinuses become inflamed. Once the membrane is inflamed it blocks the drainage of fluid from the sinuses into the nose and throat. When this fluid builds up inside the sinuses it causes intense pressure and pain. And in chronic sinusitis the inflammation persists leading to the formation of grape like structures called polyps,” said Dr. Seejo George, Specialist ENT Surgeon at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai.” Developments in technology have given us increased accessibility in surgical field, perfection and success. High quality cameras, endoscopes and specifically designed instruments used via nose to remove disease blocking sinuses to increase the ventilation of paranasal sinuses. Endoscopic Sinus Surgery has evolved as modality of treatment of choice in Chronic Sinusitis.”

“Nasal obstruction is not the only cause of snoring. Some lifestyle related factors such as obesity, a long ulva or palate, large tonsils and a large tongue compared to the jaw size also increase the probability of the cumbersome condition,” he said.

Long term sufferers of snoring are quick to try over the counter remedies or advice handed by friends and family in a bid to stop.

“These quick fixes offer a temporary solution. People should consult a Doctor to determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing the persistent snoring,” Dr. Madhusudan continued. “At Medeor 24×7 Hospital we are running a campaign from November 3rd to the 13th offering the public free ENT consultations and a 20% discount on all procedures to encourage people to seek medical attention to determine an underlying problem.”

“Snoring can hamper sleep patterns for both the sufferer and his or her partner and this can lead to decreased productivity during the day. We at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai are determined to shed light on the condition in the hope sufferers seek medical attention to determine if a medical condition is causing the cumbersome condition. These efforts are an indication of our commitment towards the betterment of the health of the community,” said Dr. Mohammed Berer, Medical Director at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai.

Photo credit: Martin Gommel / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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