What is snoring?
Snoring can be defined as an unpleasant and disturbing noise caused by the stenosis of the structures that make up the upper respiratory tract during sleep, such as the nose, soft palate, small tongue and tongue root together or separately. The most important thing in snoring treatment is to accept that snoring is a disease. Snoring is a treatable disease. Loud snoring can be a harbinger of a serious health problem. Snoring indicates that the air passage in the respiratory tract is not sufficiently clear, and a very severe snoring indicates that air passage through a narrow area is forced. Recognising that snoring is a disease is the first step towards treatment. In general, snorers do not consult a doctor alone because they are not bothered by their own snoring. Since the snorer is a bad sleeping companion, snoring patients are usually brought to us by their spouses, friends with whom they go on business trips and have to share the same room, or even neighbours. Snoring is a social disease as well as a disease that puts one’s own health and life at risk. The most important point about snoring is to determine when snoring causes health problems. If the person who snores during sleep has breathing stops and this breathless time is more than 10 seconds, then we need to talk about a disease that can have serious consequences, which we call sleep apnoea. This disease is obstructive sleep apnoea, which is the most common sleep-apnoea in general. It is estimated that 10 to 30 per cent of adults snore. In most of these people, snoring is not at a level that causes serious health problems called simple snoring. Approximately five out of 100 people are estimated to have severe snoring and breathing stops during sleep, hence the disease called obstructive sleep-apnoea syndrome.
Can snoring be treated?
Many types of snoring can be treated. The following recommendations should be followed for adult snorers. A sportive lifestyle should be chosen to gain a good muscle tone. People who snore should not take sleeping pills, sedatives and allergy medicines called antihistamines before sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol 4 hours before sleep. Avoid heavy meals 3 hours before sleep. Avoid excessive fatigue. It should be preferred to lie on the side instead of lying on the back during sleep. As an old suggestion, sewing a tennis ball to the back of the pyjamas is still a useful method. This prevents sleeping on your back. Turn your entire bed approximately 10 cm to one side so that the head of your bed is higher. For this purpose, placing a brick under one side of your bed will suit your purpose. Allow time for people who do not snore at home to fall asleep before you. People who snore in all positions are called heavy snorers. These people need more help than the above suggestions. When snoring becomes harmful for the person and their family, it is advisable to consult your specialist doctor. This is especially important when there is a problem of not being able to breathe during sleep (loud snoring is interrupted by a period of breathlessness.) It is even more important to consult your doctor. A detailed examination of the nose, mouth, throat and neck of the snoring patient should be performed. Sleep laboratory studies are valuable in determining the extent of snoring and the health of the snorer. Snoring treatment is undoubtedly based on diagnosis. This can be as simple as treating allergies or infections or as simple as surgical treatment of tonsil, adenoid or nasal disorders. Successful results are obtained from snoring surgeries, which stabilise the moving tissues and widen the airway.
Can snoring be eliminated?
It is known that one of the most important causes of snoring is excess weight. It has been observed that snoring is significantly reduced or completely eliminated in 80% of overweight patients who lose weight. Weight loss, specially shaped pillows, the use of certain devices placed in the mouth or nose, sleeping pills, tranquilisers and avoiding alcohol use may be useful in controlling snoring. However, all of these methods require significant changes in living conditions and must be continuous. There is an effective method to eliminate snoring. With this surgical method called “Laser uvulo-palatoplasty (LAUP)”, the tissues in the soft palate are reshaped and snoring can be prevented. The success rate of this surgery is between 85-90%. In the operation, the tissues in the soft palate are carefully reduced with a laser beam and the vibrations during sleep, i.e. snoring, are eliminated as the tissues heal and tighten over time. The reason for using a laser beam in the operation is the laser’s ability to cut soft tissues without causing bleeding. The operation takes about half an hour and is performed under local anaesthesia to numb the throat. In many patients, the desired result is achieved with one treatment; however, some patients may need to repeat the operation at intervals of up to four weeks. In some patients, even if snoring does not disappear completely, its severity decreases. Sore throat is felt for a few days to two weeks following LAUP surgery and is controlled with painkillers. Most patients return to their normal lives within a few days and are able to start working; they are only asked to avoid strenuous physical activities such as heavy lifting. The timing of the effects of the operation varies from person to person. In some patients, the results are immediate and snoring stops on the day of the operation. In other patients, the result of the operation is visible and finalised within a month.