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What Is Snoring?
Snoring is a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissues of the mouth, nose and throat (upper airway). It is caused by a partial blockage of the upper airway.
When we are awake we have sufficient muscle tone to keep the airway open. When asleep we lose this muscle tone and the airway narrows. This reduction of breathing space is not a problem for most of us but for some it is the precondition for snoring. Snorers may have an additional feature, which is an obstruction of some kind somewhere between the Adam's-apple and the tip of the nose. This blockage can be swollen tissue, congestion or a deformity.
- 41.5% of the UK adult population snore.
- There are approximately 15 million snorers in the UK.
- Snoring affects 30 million people in the UK.
- There are 10.4 million males and 4.5 million females who snore
- The ratio of male to female snorers is 2.3:1
- Figures from a recent survey found men are louder snorers than women.
- 58% of snorers are between 50-59 years of age.
The complete text of the latest UK study is available for download.
What Is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep Apnoea is a condition where breathing temporarily ceases during sleep. The cessation of breathing automatically forces the sufferer to wake up in order to start breathing again. This can happen many times during the night making it hard for the body to get enough oxygen, and obtain good quality sleep. If the sufferer is overweight and/or has a collar size of 16½" or greater, the fatty tissue around the neck area may squeeze the airway closed thus preventing air from reaching the lungs. Sometimes however it can be the result of a blockage such as the tongue dropping to the back of the throat. Extremely loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness and morning headaches are some of the symptoms of SA. Even if you display some or all of the symptoms you do not necessarily have sleep apnoea. You cannot diagnose SA yourself - it can only be determined by undergoing an overnight sleep study. The recommended form of treatment is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure).
How Do We Control Snoring?
- Most important - find the cause and then treat it appropriately.
- If the patient is overweight, smokes or drinks, these lifestyles must be addressed.
- If there is an abnormality in the nasal airway e.g. nasal polyps seek help and advice from the GP.
- Nasal dilators are useful for small or collapsing nostrils.
- Nasal sprays can reduce nasal stuffiness caused by allergies to house dust mite, feather bedding, pet hair or cigarette smoke.
- An oral vestibular shield keeps the mouth closed and can control snoring caused by 'mouth breathing'.
- If a weak chin causes the mouth to drop open, Snore Calm Chin-Up Strips will help to keep the mouth closed.
- The most popular oral device is the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) which is suitable for a snorer whose tongue drops to the back of the throat causing an obstruction. The device brings the jaw forward and keeps the tongue away from the back of the throat. MADs can be moulded by the patient by simply placing in hot water and moulding to their own specification. There are many different types of MAD available but those recommended by BSSAA at present are the Tomed SomnoGuard range of appliances. MADs are not suitable for all patients with a tongue base problem especially if they have missing or loose teeth, gum disease, dentures or temporomandibular joint problems.
What Can BSSAA Offer?
- Information on causes and appropriate treatments.
- By performing our simple tests you can determine what kind of snorer you are.
- Our 90-day Snore-No-More Plan is a step-by-step guide to resolving a snoring problem.
- Information on the benefits and limitations of currently available surgical procedures.
- Provide a sympathetic ear to the 'snoree' (the one who has to listen to the snoring).
- An extensive library covering all areas of snoring and sleep apnoea.
- A range of sleep related journals with on-line access.
- Unique only to BSSAA, mail order shop offering a comprehensive range of clinically proven anti-snoring products and devices.
- Provide seminars to Consultants, GPs, Dentists and other health professionals.
- Assess and trial new treatment products.
- Refer suspected SA sufferers to GP for further referral for specialist assessment.