Embarrassing problems: snoring

10 Feb 2017 Chris James   Health and wellbeing

Whilst any medical condition is nothing to be ashamed of, we understand that it can be daunting to seek advice about a problem that's causing you embarrassment. As such, we explore the health issues that people find most difficult to talk about. Next up is snoring.

What is snoring?

Snoring is a snorting or rattling noise that a person makes during their sleep. Some people snore infrequently and the noise they make isn't that loud. However, others may snore every night at a level that can be heard from the next room.

What causes snoring?

The noise is caused when the soft tissue at the back of your mouth, nose or throat vibrates. Interestingly, the exact sound you make will depend upon where the noise comes from. For example, if your snoring is higher pitched nasal sound, it's more than likely coming from the back of your nose. If it's more of a grunting sound, it's more likely to be coming from your throat or the top of your mouth. However, most cases of snoring will be caused by a combination of areas.

How is snoring diagnosed?

This may seem like a pretty ridiculous question, but bear with us! There are three different grades of snoring that can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional:

  • Grade 1 – This is simple, infrequent snoring that isn't particularly loud, meaning that your breathing is unaffected. This type of snoring causes no significant health problems.
  • Grade 2 – This type of snoring occurs on a more regular basis (more than three days a week) and may cause mild breathing difficulties during sleep. Sometimes, this leads to poor quality sleep.
  • Grade 3 – This is the type of snoring that occurs every night and can be heard from outside your room. More often than not, people with grade 3 snoring have obstructive sleep apnoea. This condition causes the airways to become blocked, which often leads to you waking up due to lack of oxygen.

What can I do about my snoring?

Snoring can be treated, but sometimes a complete cure isn't always possible. If you're overweight, losing weight can help. You can also switch up your sleeping positions as you're far more likely to snore if you lie on your back. Many people use sleep products such as mouth guards and nasal strips to help to minimise snoring. If your snoring is particularly bad, there is the option of surgery but this should be considered as a last resort. It's worth noting that surgery can have a limited effect which rarely lasts longer than two years. It's important that you discuss surgery with your GP in order to decide if it's for you as it can have complications.

When to seek help

Snoring affects one in four people in the UK and is relatively harmless. With that being said, if your snoring is having a negative impact on your life or relationships, you should speak to a GP or medical professional. If your snoring is keeping you awake or making you overtired, it should be taken seriously.

If you want to talk to a pharmacist about your snoring, get in touch with our pharmacist today.

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