Snoring is a sleep breathing condition that can affect a variety of people and be related to a number of different causes. Many times, snoring is caused by a combination of factors, and it can be difficult to tell how various aspects of a person’s health and habits are contributing to snoring. One of the questions many people wonder about is whether asthma and snoring are related in any way. Many people experience asthma and snoring simultaneously and want to know if asthma can actually be the cause of their snoring.
First let’s take a quick look at both of the conditions:
About Asthma and Snoring
Asthma is a chronic health condition in which the airways are inflamed, narrowed, and hypersensitive. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, a wheezing sound when breathing, and tightness in the chest that often causes discomfort. Asthma may appear at any age, with symptoms often starting in childhood. Adults can also develop asthma without any warning and extreme stress may be a trigger that induces or worsens the effects of an asthma attacks.
The causes of asthma are not completely known, but many experts believe that it may be related to environmental factors such as allergens, pollution, genetics, or obesity. If left unchecked and untreated, asthma can result in the complete cessation of breathing and may even be fatal. Anyone who has asthma, or suspects that they have it, should be under the care of a medical professional.
Snoring is different from asthma in many ways. The root of snoring comes from problems that happen in breathing during sleep. When sleeping, normal breathing should happen through the nose and the air should easily flow in and out to provide oxygen to the body all throughout the night. However, when certain factors cause the breathing passages to be inflamed or restricted, this causes the air to flow more roughly through the airways, resulting in vibration and, ultimately, the noise that we call snoring.
Restricted sleep breathing that results in snoring may be caused by congestion in the nose due to cold, allergies, or a deviated septum. It may also be a result of inflamed or swollen adenoids or tonsils, loose muscle tone in the neck, malformed jaw or tongue, or other physical blockages of the airway. Some people snore chronically, while others only do so in relation to a temporary condition such as seasonal allergies, illness, or even pregnancy.
Can Asthma Cause Snoring?
Although the breathlessness and coughing from asthma can often disturb sleep, a direct connection between asthma and snoring has not been made from a medical standpoint. On the other hand, there are many people who have asthma that do snore, and this can lead to an even more difficulty with sleeping, breathing, and possibly even with the overall quality of a person’s life.
Asthma and snoring are both conditions that can be treated simultaneously, but there is no expectation that treating one of the problems is likely to eliminate the other. People who have asthma should certainly be under the care of a doctor. Although snoring is more likely to be a benign condition without as much of a health threat, it can also be a sign of a more serious health condition such as sleep apnea. In general, if you snore and have asthma, it’s a good idea to mention it to your doctor.
Asthma, Snoring and Obesity
Although asthma and snoring may not be directly connected, there is one contributing link to both conditions that may be worth considering. People who are obese or severely overweight are much more likely to struggle with snoring (and related conditions such as sleep apnea). It is also true that people who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight are at a higher risk of struggling with asthma treatments.
Losing weight may be the key to treating asthma more effectively and also may help to reduce or even eliminate snoring altogether. But many people with sleep problems can’t seem to lose weight, even when they are eating a healthy diet and exercising the recommended amount. This challenge may be related to the fact that people who are sleep deprived are likely to gain weight rather than lose it. As it turns out, sleep is a critical part of keeping up the metabolism and keeping off the pounds. So for people who have problems with snoring and talking to a doctor is a wise way to come up with an effective plan for losing weight while controlling asthma and snoring.
Treatment for Snoring
Snoring doesn’t necessarily have a cure, but there are certainly options for treating snoring that can help reduce the noise and promote better sleep at night. In the rare cases that snoring caused by a physical deformity of the jaw, nose, or inside the mouth, surgery may be required.
For the most part, however, snoring can usually be treated with options that are available over the counter. Adhesive nasal strips are helpful for those whose snoring is caused by congestion of the nose as this opens up the breathing passages and reduces the occurrence of mouth breathing during sleep.
Another simple solution for snoring is the use of a wedge pillow that props up the body and keeps the airways open. This may also be accomplished through sleep training as people are less likely to snore when they are sleeping on their sides rather than flat on their backs.
For people whose tongues are enlarged or whose neck tone is loose, using a mouth guard specially designed for snorers may bring just the relief that is needed. However, a person who has asthma should check with their doctor first before using a mouth guard that could interrupt sleep breathing related to asthma.
Although it cannot be said that asthma is a direct cause for snoring, there are many people who suffer from both conditions. Interrupted sleep, whether due to asthma or snoring (or both!) can take its toll on your health, your emotions, your mental capacity, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. Getting started on a plan to treat your asthma and your snoring can help restore your sleep to a healthy routine, which will make your life happier too!