Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

What causes snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea?

Basically we snore because 

1.Our airway is too small or because

2.Our airway is too floppy

Small airways are often the result of excessive soft tissue within the facial bony framework. 

If a person has a small chin, a narrowed jaw or long face then its much more likely that the soft tissue will be pushed backwards narrowing the airway. 

If a person mouth breathes at night- this often results in the tongue falling backwards causing a narrowed airway.

So when air flows through a narrowed airway- you get the snoring sound. Apnoea occurs when the airway obstructs or collapses during sleep due to the small airway or the excessively collapsible airway.

The nose plays an extremely important role in stabilising an airway. Mouth breathers are much more likely to snore.

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The sites of obstruction including having obstruction at the level of .

1.The nose,

2.The adenoid area at the back of the nose,

3.The area behind the soft palate 

4.The tonsil area

5.The area behind the tongue

5.The epiglottis/voice box area

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea includes

1.Conservative measures such as losing weight, reducing alcohol, sleeping on the side.

2.Myofunctional therapy to strengthen the orofacial muscles

3,Medications to help reduce congestion

4.Continuous positive airway pressure- using a machine which blows open the airway

5.Oral Appliances to bring the tongue forward

6.Surgery. This is performed if the other measures dont work. The most important thing is to identify the sites of obstruction and then treat them in a stepwise manner.