My husband snores a lot and I get scared. Is he ok?

Dear doctor; My husband snores loudly and some times I get scared. Is he having any illness?

Dear doctor;

My husband snores loudly and some times I get scared. Is he having any illness?

Iragaba

Dear Iragaba,

You have not specified your husband’s age. Snoring occurs due to airflow being obstructed in the mouth during deep sleep.  During deep sleep, muscles of the roof of the mouth relax. They can relax to the extent that  they partially block air flow causing vibration and that loud sound. 

It  can be normal for middle aged men or women, particularly if they are obese. Men are more prone to snoring as compared to women.  If the uvula(triangular piece of tissue hanging from palate, i.e. top of the mouth) is long, one can snore while sleeping. It can also occur due to consuming alcohol before going to bed. 

Chronic nasal congestion also contributes to snoring while sleeping. Individuals having enlarged tonsils can also have this problem.  Hereditary factors are also implied for snoring. Studies show that people who snore while sleeping  also have high blood pressure. But whether it is the cause or result is not clearly established.

Whatever the reason for snoring, it certainly disturbs sleep of a partner and also of the individual. The person in question may feel tired and somnolent  during day. He may be irritable as he does not feel fresh.

Those who are obese should try to reduce their weight to minimize snoring. It is advisable to sleep on the side instead of the back, because it is more when one sleeps straight on the back. Elevating the head by using 2 pillows instead of one can also reduce it. This is because additional height may help to keep airways open. Those with problem of tonsillitis or nasal congestion can do some steam inhalation before sleeping. One should avoid alcohol before sleeping. Mouth pieces are available which close the mouth comfortably while sleeping such that one does not snore.

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