Indoor Allergy Week
SNORING & INDOOR ALLERGY
Too much alcohol, too much food and too many cigarettes often cause snoring. But for many snorers, indoor allergies can be the problem. According to the British Allergy Foundation, one third of the UK adult population is suffering from some sort of allergy. `Respiratory Allergies' have recently been found to be a significant risk factor for snoring.
Respiratory allergies result in nasal hypersensitivity or hyper-reactivity which leads to difficulty in breathing especially at night. The symptoms include inflammation of the lining of the nose, nasal congestion, rhinitis, sneezing and itching.
WHAT CAUSES RESPIRATORY ALLERGY
Dust particles, tobacco smoke, feather pillows and bedding, house dust mite, pet hair, indoor plants and flowers, perfumes, some household cleansers and paint smells can all cause respiratory allergy.
CONSEQUENCES OF RESPIRATORY ALLERGY FOR SNORERS
When nasal breathing is restricted our body's `self preservation mechanism' kicks in and forces us to breathe through our mouth. However mouth breathing is undesirable for many reasons, not least because it almost guarantees that you will snore.
Both McColley et al (1997) and Young et al (1997) in their studies found that patients with chronic night time rhinitis were more likely to be snorers. For some the nasal obstruction caused by the rhinitis may even predispose them to sleep apnoea. Another study by Young et al (2001) found that chronic, nocturnal nasal congestion was most strongly related to snoring and that patients who suffer nasal congestion every night or nearly every night were three times more likely to be regular snorers than normal subjects.
Another good predictor of snoring is `mouth breathing' caused by allergy. Urschitz et al (2005) demonstrated in their study that allergic rhinitis is most likely related to day time mouth breathing and may lead to snoring.
Several studies have found that as well as snoring the persistent respiratory allergy causes severe sleep disruption with subsequent poor daytime functioning and impaired quality of life. The McColley study found that sleep efficiency, total sleep time and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep periods were substantially decreased in the subjects with allergic disorders.
If you have feather pillows and bedding stop using them and use non-allergic synthetic bedding instead. Try also `allergen barrier covers'.
If you have a pet - keep it out of the bedroom.
Cut down on alcohol and smoking - these substances cause the lining of the nose and throat to swell preventing you from breathing correctly. Passive smoking has the same effect. Try and stay away from smokey places.
Steam inhalation for 10 minutes morning and night can work wonders in clearing nasal congestion.
Decongestants can be used for short-term treatment but should not be used for more than 7 days because they can cause a `rebound' effect.
Antihistamines are highly effective for controlling itching, sneezing and rhinitis but less so for nasal obstruction. Long term treatment is better than intermittent use. Whichever one you choose it is advisable to select the newer generation of non-sedating medications. Antihistamine nasal sprays can also be used. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
If these simple measure don't work - call us.
Tel: 01737 245638 ISDN for interviews 01737 228900
McColley S et al (1997) High prevalence of allergic sensitization
Chest 111 170-73
Urschitz M et al (2005) Allergic rhinitis as a risk factor for snoring
Chest 127 6
Young T et al (1997) Nasal obstruction as a risk factor for sleep disordered breathing
Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology 99 5757-6
Young T et al (2001) Chronic nasal congestion at night is a risk factor for snoring
Archives of Internal Medicine 161 1514-9