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Snoring Diagram: Benefits of Using Illustrations

Updated on January 10, 2011

Snoring Diagram

Snoring Diagram: Benefits of Using Illustrations

A snoring diagram is the best way to understand the entire mechanism of snoring. Now you might be thinking that understanding of the mechanism of snoring should be limited to medical professionals; why should the lay public need to understand the mechanism of snoring? Okay permit me to clear your misgivings about this particular issue.

One look at the snoring diagram from Mayo, given below can make you understand the relation between your sleep posture and your snoring.

So now it should be clearer how an illustration is more useful and will better explain how to prevent snoring by positioning your head and throat appropriately.

Better Understanding through Illustration:

The illustration given above shows the snorer breathing through his nose and mouth. When the head falls forward or when the chin touches the chest during sleep, the airway gets extremely constricted or narrowed. This is due to a combined effect of the base of the tongue, the soft palate and the other soft tissues in this area (like the uvula) getting squeezed on to the airway opening below; owing to the falling forward of the chin.

What happens after airways get constricted?

Simply because the opening is constricted, it does not mean that the person will stop breathing. The air that is waiting to be exhaled is under high pressure due to the pumping of the heart and subsequent pressure upon the thorax and lungs. So this air will definitely find its way out, regardless of the fact that the opening has narrowed down to almost ΒΌ th or lesser of its original diameter.

How are the sound vibrations created?

When this high pressure forces its way out, it creates a considerable vibration of the squeezed soft tissues and the uvula; which guards the opening of the pharynx. These vibrations and flapping of the soft tissues creates a loud sound, and it is audible outside as snoring sounds. These snoring sounds can be quite loud, and the decibel value of snoring sounds varies with the extent of constriction of the airway and subsequent pressure of the exhaled air.

Comparison between snoring sounds during inhalation and exhalation:

The inhaled air is also pulled in to the airways and from there in to the lungs under a fair amount of pressure, due to the vacuum generated by the high pressure exhaled air. So that means that even though the snoring sounds during inhalation may be slightly softer than those created during exhalation, yet the snoring does not entirely pause during this phase of inhalation.

What are the factors that can cause constriction of the airways?

The snoring diagram above has clearly depicted the mechanism of creation of snoring sounds, which is the direct result of constriction and narrowing down of the airways. But now another logical question arises. How does this constriction occur in the first place? Well, as described in the earlier part of this article, one of the commonest causes of airway constriction is, incorrect positioning of the head and chin during sleep.

Can the constriction be genetic?

Many a times, the airway constriction could be genetic, due to developmental defects within the nasal canal or in the throat or in the soft tissues that surround the opening of the airway. The commonest examples of genetically inherited defects are elongated uvula, deviated nasal septum etc.

What are the other factors that contribute towards constriction of the airways?

Several other factors like consumption of alcohol, use of mediations like sedatives and anti histamines, infections like tonsillitis, sinusitis and disorders like goiter are a few of the other factors that contribute towards the narrowing down of the airways.


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