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The health risks associated with snoring and its treatment

There are theories that say snoring once performed an important function. When the early man was still sleeping in the open air, the noise had drawn the attention of the predators to the old - and often snoring - people or even deterred the robbers. No, says Dr. Michael Herzog.

Snoring has no use. Neither before nor today. In the best case, it would be annoying, in the worst case, a serious illness behind it. Although society has become more sensitive to the topic in recent years, "it is nevertheless trivialized," says Herzog, a physician who is currently working on a new snoring medical guideline.

Snoring alone is not a disease. And hiding the problem behind the bedroom door carries risks. Because behind the snoring can be a serious illness. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), which requires a lot of hard work from the body. In an apnea, the muscles of the upper respiratory tract relax. As a result, the throat shrinks to a smaller diameter and has less space to pass the inhaled air. But we can not breathe less permanently and do without the required amount of oxygen, so we have to work harder. Through this increased suction while breathing it pulls the throat even more together until it is completely closed - the person can no longer breathe, the oxygen saturation in the blood decreases and the carbon dioxide (CO2) content rises. If the CO2 content in the blood is too high, the person faints. To prevent this, the body struggles even more and sounds the alarm. It comes with a slight waking, the muscle tension increases, the throat opens with explosive snoring, and we can breathe again. The health consequences can be serious.

Affected persons chronically wake up in the morning, often with a dull headache caused by the lack of oxygen, they sweat in sleep a lot, and the heart no longer works properly. In the long term, sufferers would be at increased risk for a loss of libido, heart attack and stroke.

In the long run, snoring leads to hair loss, oily skin and pimples. People who do not sleep well age faster. Because the repair mechanisms of the skin run off while sleeping.

For the treatment of snoring, there are many options: side bolsters, supine prevention vests, bite bars, sleep apps, breathing masks, the implantation of a tongue pacemaker, surgical tightening of the soft palate, the removal of tonsils or polyps.

Because we do not always know where and when the snoring and apnea arise, the treatment is sometimes difficult. Also because the treatment of snoring takes place at a certain time of life. With age the respiratory system becomes flabby, people become heavier, the muscles are not so strong.