Is Snoring Keeping You Awake At Night?: Studies show that snorers have an increased risk of health issues, cautions Dr. Paul Stallone
May 01, 2012 09:25AM
● By By Paul Stallone, NMD
Paul Stallone, NMD
Snoring is something everyone experiences at some point during their lifetime, and while the reasons for snoring vary, some suffer more than others. While the person doing the snoring may experience serious side effects, spouses and other family members can also have their sleep significantly impacted by snoring.
The loud sounds of snoring occur when there is an obstruction to the flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing. When snoring is severe, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, increased anxiety, hyper-irritability, decreased memory and poor concentration.
Allergies (allergic rhinitis) can cause nasal congestion, swelling, sneezing and a runny nose, which can cause more frequent and/or louder snoring, because the lining in the throat and nose becomes inflamed. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually due to the increase of high pollen counts of trees, grass and other plant pollens, and mainly occurs in spring and summer. Studies show that snorers have an increased risk of developing heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes and having an automobile accident.
Those who reach for over-the-counter medications actually could be making the situation worse, because antihistamines act as a muscle depressant. The muscles in the throat and neck become more relaxed during sleep, resulting in a floppy airway that can lead to very loud snoring. Decongestants may help, but only because they keep the person awake during the night by increasing their heartbeat. The best way to treat increased snoring from allergies is to treat the cause.
Natural supplements such as freeze-dried nettle leaf reduce congestion and snoring by inhibiting an inflammatory substance triggered by allergens. Quercetin, a dietary flavonoid, reduces inflammation in the airways and blocks allergic reactions to pollen. Butterbur, a European herb, has also been shown to be very effective in controlling symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Diet can provide aid in relieving snoring and other symptoms due to allergic rhinitis. Cayenne is used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and neural and circulatory stimulant. Long-term use of capsaicin, the active constituent in cayenne, decreases inflammation and reduces mucus production due to allergies. The spicier the dish, the more it thins mucous secretions that clear nasal passages. Other recommended food and spices for this purpose include hot ginger, fenugreek, onion and garlic.
Many allergy-related snorers have chosen to avoid the inconvenience of taking supplements daily and instead opt for a preventative treatment called immunotherapy, which is designed to rid patients of their allergies by stopping the snoring and other symptoms before they can start. After some simple testing, a physician tailors a program to stop the immune system from overreacting to pollutants that find their way into the body. If inflammation that causes snoring is prevented, then snoring can be effectively avoided.
Immunotherapy encourages a healthy response from the immune system, which results in elimination of symptoms naturally. Once the allergies are controlled, the nasal passages heal and snoring is often silenced. Immunotherapy programs such as sublingual (under the tongue) drops or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) are natural and effective treatments that are safe even for infants. These programs can only be administered by a trained physician and cannot be concocted at home.
If allergies and snoring are moderate to severe, self-treating is not the answer. To get the most from a natural treatment, the participation of a knowledgeable physician is key. A physician should provide correct dosages and combinations of supplements that work specifically for snoring, because guessing which supplements are appropriate is never a good idea. One factor for success is starting treatment before allergy symptoms kick in. The ideal time to begin is before allergy season is scheduled to start, so no one’s sleep is disturbed by snoring.
Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. He combines natural/alternative/conventional treatments to best fit and benefit each individual patient’s needs. For more information call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.