Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) What You Need to Know


Intestines, Bowel, Guts, Intestinal, Gastrointestinal

Facts – About IBS 

      • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders affecting between 25 and 45 million people in the United States. 
      • Globally, IBS affects 10-15% of the total population. 
      • The condition is more common among women. Almost two out of every three affected with the condition are females. 
      • IBS affects people of all ages including children and the elderly but is most common under the age of 50.
      • IBA accounts for up to 12% of the visits to the hospitals. 
      • 2.5-3.5 million people visit the doctor’s office annually due to IBS symptoms in the US only. 
      • Around 30-40% of visits to gastroenterologists are due to the symptoms of IBS. 
      • Unfortunately, many people do not recognize the symptoms of IBS.
      • Many people with the symptoms of IBS do not need medical care. 
      • Contrary to popular opinion, IBS is not Chrons Disease. Although the symptoms are similar, the reason for their initial existence is different.

What is IBS?

Crohn's Disease

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a medical condition characterized by a group of gastrointestinal conditions. The symptoms can include abdominal cramps, pain, discomfort, and bloating. It is also characterized by abnormal bowel movement which alters between diarrhea or/and constipation. 

Technically, IBS is considered a “functional” disorder because it affects the normal functioning of the digestive system. The core problem lies with the movement of the organs involved in digestion instead of damage to the tissues or internal lining of the digestive tract organs. 

Signs and Symptoms of IBS 

As mentioned earlier, IBS is a cluster of symptoms that are typically associated with abdominal discomfort. Other common signs and symptoms of IBS include:  

      • Diarrhea: In some cases, people have IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). This means that they often have a sudden urge to have loose stools even when they do not have indigestion.
      • Constipation: Not all cases of IBS have diarrhea. Instead, there are some cases where IBS is accompanied by constipation. Such patients experience strained bowel movements and inconsistent stools. 
      • Bloating and gas
      • Abdominal cramps and swelling in the lower abdomen. 
      • Pain and discomfort associated with certain foods
      • Nausea and occasional vomiting. 
      • Loss of appetite
      • Weight loss 
      • Stools with inconsistent texture. 

Though indigestion is not a symptom of IBS, almost 70% of people with this condition also experience indigestion. Since the condition is more common among women, most of the symptoms intensify during the menstrual periods. 

Types of IBS 

According to the symptoms, IBS can be classified into four categories or types. 

IBS with Diarrhea

This specific type of IBS specifically affects the large intestine. As a result, patients of this condition experience frequent loose stools which is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In some cases, people may also lose control over bowel movements. In such severe cases, treatment is essential to manage the symptoms of IBS. 

IBS with Constipation

This type of IBS usually affects young adults and adolescents. Stools are often very hard and the frequency is inconsistent. People with this type of IBS also commonly experience constipation. 

IBS with Constipation and Diarrhea 

Some people have mixed IBS which means that they have alternating patterns of diarrhea and constipation. 

Unsubtyped IBS 

Other symptoms of IBS which do not fit into the above three categories fall under this type known as unsubtyped IBS. 

What Causes IBS?

As of now the exact cause of IBS is still not known. Medical practitioners around the world agree that a number of factors contribute to this condition. Some of the factors include:

      • Altered pattern of movement of gastrointestinal organs
      • Abnormal signals to and from the brain
      • Changes insensitivity to pain and 
      • Food intolerance 

Some of the risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing IBS may include the following: 

      • Infections in the gastrointestinal tract including stomach, large and small intestines
      • Hormonal imbalance 
      • Certain psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression
      • In some cases, genetics may also contribute towards IBS Managing IBS 

IBS cannot be treated however, the symptoms can be managed by avoiding triggers and adopting a few lifestyle changes. 

IBS Triggers

Certain types of foods as well as stress and anxiety can trigger or intensify symptoms of IBS in some people. 


Red Peppers
Photo by 王小明 on Unsplash

Some of the common food ingredients which are often considered as IBS triggers include:  

        • Red peppers
        • Red wine 
        • Green Onion 
        • Wheat 
        • Cow Milk 

A better idea is to substitute these ingredients with other food items such as spinach, tofu, salmon, and broccoli, which are more stomach-friendly. 


According to research, stress and IBS are closely related. Stress increases the sensitivity of the colon and increases the movement of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, stress increases the risk of IBS because this condition is a result of a complex interaction between the brain and the stomach, and other organs of the digestive system. 

Lifestyle Changes to Improve the Symptoms of IBS 

Apart from avoiding triggers, bringing in a few lifestyle changes play an important role in improving the symptoms of IBS. Some of the tips to improve the symptoms of IBS include the following:

      • Reduce the intake of caffeine. 
      • Add more fibrous foods to your diet. 
      • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. 
      • Avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco. 
      • Reduce the intake of dairy products including cheese and milk. 
      • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. 

In most cases, IBS can be managed by avoiding triggers and bringing about a few lifestyle changes. But many people may also require medical treatment. If you are one of those, make sure that you follow the instructions of your medical caregiver carefully. 

Rhinoplasty and Other Surgical Procedures Pertaining to the Nose


”Illustration of the human nose"
Photo by alexonline –

The phrase ‘nose job’ is often cited when it comes to celebrities. However, the surgical procedure is not just conducted for professional reasons but also personal ones. It may be required for any number of reasons, which we will discuss further below.


A nose job or rhinoplasty is a facial cosmetic surgery, which is ordinarily performed to enhance the physical appearance or simply as a reconstructive procedure. It involves adjusting nasal cartilages and the associated bones. Alternatively, it may also mean correcting the tissues of the nose to improve the aesthetic appearance.

Rhinoplasty may also be performed on a needed basis, such as rectifying nasal fractures. In this particular instance, the objective of the surgery is to revitalize the nose back to its original appearance.

Additionally, septorhinoplasty is a similar enucleation which is meant for people with nasal obstructions. In case an individual has any internal interference, then septorhinoplasty is the way to go. Besides, it also revamps the person’s physical appearance.

Pre Procedure Practice

Face ProfileGenerally, the procedure is performed as an outpatient at a hospital. An anesthesiologist is present to facilitate the process. Prior to undergoing surgery, patients must be examined i.e. their medical history must be studied and lab tests should be performed as well.

Other tips include avoiding aspirin in the days leading up to the procedure. The same applies to non-steroid anti-inflammatory medicines such as Advil and Motrin. In cases of confusion, a pharmacist can be consulted too.

Moreover, no solids or liquids should be consumed in the hours leading up to surgery. This is a common request made by doctors before trials or surgeries. Fasting before tests ensures that results obtained are accurate.

In this instance, if the stomach contains food then the chances of an anesthetic issue increase. Lastly, smoking should be avoided before the surgery and any infection or allergy must be treated.

Reasons for Rhinoplasty

If an individual’s nose size to facial balance is in disequilibrium or their nose width or the positioning of their nostrils is not right, then a rhinoplasty can be performed. Similarly, if there is a depression on the bridge of their nose or their nasal tip is either enlarged or pointed, then a nose job can be performed as well. Moreover, if the nostrils are too large or too wide and their nose is asymmetrical, then this surgery can be completed as well.

There are other explanations for the routine being executed. A cleft lip is one. This is a birth defect that involves a facial deformity close to the mouth and/or nose. This can cause those suffering associated with eating issues and will mean the individual will likely undergo corrective rhinoplasty.

Chronic sinus concerns are the second reason for the surgery. This can include anything from regular nasal allergies to sinus congestions. In most cases, an anatomical anomaly which is a structural issue that causes discomfort when breathing can be fixed with a rhinoplasty.

Injuries can also lead to this surgery. If a person suffers from a serious fall that damages their nose and requires surgery, then rhinoplasty is mandatory. Facial fractures or bruises are routine reasons for rhinoplasty. A plastic surgeon can fix issues such as breathing difficulties with a corrective surgery.

Finally, another actual reason for this surgery is low self-esteem. It is within the realm of possibility that a person may be dissatisfied with a part of their body. In the long run, this can cause diminished pride and the inability to cope with that overwhelming feeling and they may also become the butt jokes (bullying) which can lead to depression or other stressful ailments.

I addition, women who are not content with the size of their breasts can undergo breast augmentation or have breast implants inserted as well. Similarly, those who are willing can get rhinoplasty done too. Conventionally, this is the most common reason why individuals get rhinoplasty done.


Non Surgical Nose Job
The surgical procedure can be conducted under general or local anesthesia, which varies case by case. Routine exercise may take an hour or two unless it is an intricate procedure, which may need an overnight stay at the hospital.

When local anesthesia is taken, the nose and the adjoining area become numb. The person may be slightly sedated during the surgery itself. In this state, a patient is completely composed and does not feel any pain whatsoever. On the other hand, general anesthesia puts the patient completely to sleep.

The surgeon makes a decisive incision inside the nostrils or from the outside, around the base of the nose. The cut is made to work on the nose if a cartilage graft is required. If the purpose of the surgery is to contract the width of the nose, then the incision might extend to the nostrils.

Furthermore, a splint, which is a metallic or plastic substance, may be placed on the outside of the nose. This regulates its shape once the surgery is complete, especially if the shape is modified. Also, tender plastic splints or a nasal pack may be placed inside the nostrils too. This is done to make sure that the wall that divides the septum is kept stable.

Post Surgical Care

Once the surgery is finished, patients are monitored during recovery. Once the effects of the anesthetic wear off, the patient is free to return home. They must rest with their head elevated, which can be done with extra cushions or pillows.

Swelling or bruising on several parts of the face is one of the after effects of rhinoplasty. For example, the nose itself, lips and cheeks can also be affected in the aftermath of this surgery. This usually subsides in a matter of days. Icing the face can help alleviate this issue vastly. As for the nasal splint that is placed during the operation, it can be removed a week or so after the surgery is completed. Once the swelling begins to lessen, naturally the splint will not fit. Once the gap increases and sufficient time has passed, it can be removed and a state of normalcy is resumed.   

Nasal Allergies

Photo by kaarsten –

The nose is an organ which is primarily used to breathe i.e. inhale and exhale. It forms an important cog in the respiratory system of the body and is also used to identify various smells as well. The nose allows the introduction of air into the body. During this process, specific cells communicate with the brain, enabling it to recognize an odor.

The hairs found on the inside of the nostrils have biological significance since they ensure that foreign particles are not transmitted into the body and only safe passage of clean air is executed. The air travels through the nasal zone before it reaches the lungs.

A nasal allergy is an inflammatory reaction to any number of irritants or allergens. Nasal allergies, which are also referred to as allergic rhinitis and hay fever, transpire when the immune system is affected by allergens in the atmosphere.


Allergies affecting the nose are quite prevalent, so much so that one in five adults in the United States suffer from a nasal predicament. Nasal concerns are not taken seriously since there is no chance of fatalities occurring because of such allergies. However, despite the general disregard, it causes considerable sickness in patients. The rapid sneezing, chest congestion, eye irritations, and a nose that is constantly blocked are all side effects of these allergies.

If left untreated, a niggling nasal nuisance can become much more, such as a sinus problem. Before such an unfortunate circumstance arises, patients must vigilant and nip their nasal concerns in the bud. If adequate treatment is availed in a timely manner, allergic rhinitis is definitely treatable.

Although patients have to endure an abject state, they fail to take the illness seriously. They treat the precursors mentioned above with disdain and negligence, which is not a sensible choice. They may be accustomed to concerns like regular congestion, sinus dilemmas, and mouth breathing.


Nasal Structure

Of course, we cannot discuss nasal allergies without expounding symptoms of the infection. Signals that require your attention include a runny nose which is perhaps the most common sign of allergic rhinitis. Naturally, the ideal way to avoid this instance is by avoiding allergy triggers. This forms a significant step to avert an overflowing nose.

Plenty of patients may exhibit an allergic reaction to pollen for instance. Although some triggers may be impossible to avoid outright, it is advised to decrease exposure. If pollen is an issue, then patients may opt to stay indoors when pollen is higher. Similarly, cat or dog hair may provoke an unfavorable reaction, which means those affected must refrain from making contact and wash their hands if a domestic animal makes contact.

The sinuses are small cavities that are found behind the forehead and eyes. These cavities may be laden with mucus in case an allergy (or other illness) develops. As a result, patients may sense pressure in their sinus area (aka sinus congestion). In order to reduce this condition, steam can be inhaled or a nasal spray can be used as well. In addition, there are numerous over the counter medications that can relieve sinus pressure, but it is recommended to speak to your doctor first to make sure you can take these meds, especially if you are taken other prescribed medication.

A bout of sneezing is another indication that an allergy is germinating. People can suffer from elevated episodes of sneezing, which can be cured with an antihistamine. The final symptom of a nose allergy is watery eyes and you may feel discomfort in your eyes. It is better not to rub the eyes profusely and wear glasses instead of contact lenses.


Conventionally, mild allergic rhinitis is treated with over the counter medicine. Prescription drugs are not required as standard medication but can be used to tend to nasal allergies. A mild condition may affect an individual once or twice a year. It is best to speak to your doctor if you feel you have these symptoms.

Examples of over the counter medication include steroid nasal sprays. As shown in the picture above, these sprays can be inserted into the nostrils for relief. They reduce the inflammation or swelling in the nasal passages. They are recommended by doctors worldwide as the most viable option since they are instantly effective and convenient as well.

Furthermore, alternatives are antihistamines, drugs which directly impact the histamine in the respiratory system. Histamine is a chemical which is known to cause several allergic symptoms. The drug allows patients relief from itches and sneezes. Examples of antihistamines include fexofenadine and cetirizine. Although they can sporadically cause a sense of drowsiness, they are suggested strongly by doctors.

Decongestants are also useful if a patient is suffering from congestion in their chest area. While antihistamines can only curb allergy symptoms, it does not assuage the concern. This is precisely why patients require decongestants. Drugs such as Phenylephrine can decrease the inflammation and open the nasal passage. Last but not least, there are other options available to patients. For instance, Cromolyn is a nasal spray which can soothe the irritation of discomfort in the chest and the nose.

In case consuming over the counter medication is in vain, patients can seek alternative means. For instance, a steroid heavy nasal spray may do the trick. These are the most common treatment pertaining to allergic rhinitis. It is an all-purpose medication that allows users to hit multiple birds with one stone. Examples are Budesonide and Triamcinolone. Nasal sprays affect the concerned area and provide instant relief.

In cases where the severity is higher than usual and conventional medication does not have the required impact, then patients can undergo immunotherapy. This is a procedure where the body is exposed to small quantities of the allergen so that it becomes accustomed. With the passage of time, significant amounts may be able to offset an allergic reaction. Such allergy shots work in 9 out of 10 cases. An injection or oral tablets can be administered and the immune system in the body performs its function.

As mentioned, it is highly recommended to speak to your physician to determine (1) if the symptoms you are experiencing are due to an allergy or some other condition and (2) get the appropriate medication you will need to combat it.

Treating Children with Asthma

Treating Kids with Asthma
A child using an inhaler for help with her asthma
Adults who are prone to developing asthma can be the result of various determinants. The condition can develop because of a variety of reasons and can get aggravated easily. Where adults can tend to their own needs and tailor their lifestyle or diet to improve their health, children, on the other hand, are more vulnerable when exposed to conditions like asthma.

In fact, research indicates that the median age of children diagnosed with asthma has decreased, which underlines the importance of being careful when they are young. Our aim is to comprehend what asthma entails, its symptoms, effects, and treatments, all from the perspective of a child.


Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs. This condition makes the tubes in the respiratory system highly susceptible to bouts of laborious breathing. An episode where a patient is suffering from difficulty in breathing can be attributed to asthma (although there are many other reasons for this) and if it is asthma, the condition is called an asthma attack.

Conventional triggers include allergens and colds. For instance, you may have witnessed certain individuals refraining from occupying the same space as domestic animals. This may transpire since they are asthmatic and exposure to feline fur can provoke an attack immediately.

In order to contain asthma attacks, a combination of pharmaceutical drugs are required. Patients are also inclined to use specific inhalers, which is a common sight when they encounter an asthmatic patient.

If we focus specifically on children, particularly those under the age of five, it can be an arduous task to diagnose and administer asthma. The first signs of potential asthma development will be excessive coughing, which can be attributed to other ailments such as the common cold.

Furthermore, tests conducted may not be suited to children while certain asthma medication is only meant for adults and not children. These are the reasons that the health of children must be monitored carefully and precautionary measures be taken at the slightest sign of illness.

Asthma triggers
Environmental factors attributed to asthma attacks


We alluded to the fact that determining asthma in children can be difficult. Nevertheless, there are symptoms to deduce whether a child has developed asthma or not. As we mentioned above, these include perpetual coughing and a wheezing sound particularly when a child exhales. Chest congestion is another signal of the onset of asthma.

Furthermore, what makes it increasingly harder to gauge this illness in children is that these symptoms can emerge in trends. For instance, they may exhibit themselves at night. There might also be periods where the child has obdurate coughing followed by a lull.

Last but not least, asthma is subject to entities and events. A common cold may initiate asthma in children. Likewise, allergens such as dust particles, pollen, and pet fur (dogs and cats) may bring about an asthma attack in a child.

In particular, plenty of young children have intolerance when it comes to pollen and the hair of domestic animals, which can shed frequently and cause discomfort. The worst aspect is that this may transpire unbeknownst to the parents.


Despite the difficulty in diagnosing this breathing disease in children, it is imperative for parents to get their children tested at the first instance of irritation. With regards to treatment, there are several options available. First and foremost, it must be understood that any symptom of asthma, regardless of severity, must be considered serious. This is owing to the fact that asthma can quickly develop into a life-altering disease. Lack of management on the part of adults can be tantamount to emergency situations children may be unable to communicate.

Naturally, the prescription dosage depends on the frequency. Doctors may prescribe one of two measures. One instance is when quick relief is required. A quick fix will involve medication for rigid coughs and shortness of breath. These can trigger an asthma attack and the conventional method of combating that is with an inhaler. Whenever the child suffers from excessive coughing, their parents must ensure that they take the inhaler. Moreover, long-term management includes medication that impacts the inflammation of the tubes. It may be required on a regular basis in severe cases.

The inhaler can be supplemented with an instrument called a holding chamber, which is designed to ensure that the medicine reaches the lungs. The patient would put the inhaler through their lips and press the device that will allow the medicine to flow as they strongly inhale. Alternatively, a nebulizer is also an adequate device for treating asthma. A nebulizer is a machine with a compressor tube and accompanying mask, which helps deliver the medication.

Asthma medicines are also convenient and effective. Parents must follow the guidance provided by doctors. Allergy shots called immunotherapy are also a viable option if needed. Finally, whether medications do the trick or not, children must avoid exposure to asthma triggers at all costs.

If parents suspect that their child is asthmatic, they must consult a pediatrician who specializes in childcare or contact a dedicated allergist. Either or both of these individuals can help devise a plan, which can serve as a damage limitation exercise. The importance of knowing how to react to an asthma attack in your child simply cannot be overstated. Therefore, in cases of emergency, parents can administer the appropriate medication. The Center for Disease Control suggests that children with asthma should get an influenza shot annually.

Unfortunately, asthma in children has augmented in recent years. Research shows that children who are exposed to pollutants in cities are more at risk than children who reside in rural areas. The urban lifestyle exposes the former to all sorts of allergens and pollutants. In hindsight, parents must be careful in the first few years since their children may be susceptible to asthma and various other diseases.

What Happens When You Contract Pneumonia

”Doctor with chart in hand"
Pneumonia is a condition where inflammation occurs in the air sacs of one or both lungs. These sacs are known as alveoli and may be filled with fluids such as water or puss. It can cause a glut of coughing, which is accompanied by phlegm. Phlegm is a thick substance secreted by the mucous membrane.

The infection predominantly affects children and adults aged five and above. Quite often, a bout of pneumonia can mean a visit to the hospital.

We will delve into the significant details of this disease, including what causes the inflammation, different types of pneumonia, symptoms that patients exhibit, risks involved, diagnosing the disease, and viable treatments.


Pneumonia is classified into different types by health care professionals. This categorization is based on how the ailment is acquired. First and foremost, two broad categories are identified by doctors. These are:

  • Community-Acquired Pneumonia

When the disease develops beyond the realms of a hospital, it is known as community-acquired pneumonia. It is a common occurrence, particularly in winter and affects more than four million individuals in the United States annually.

  • Hospital Acquired Pneumonia

The other broad category is called hospital-acquired pneumonia. As the name implies, this transpires when a patient is admitted to the hospital for reasons other than pneumonia. Being subjected to a ventilator, for instance, can augment the risk of developing pneumonia.

Furthermore, the advent of pneumonia can be broken down into categories based on how severe the lung tissue is damaged:

  1. Bronchopneumonia is a condition where deposits which cause the inflammation are dispersed in the lungs
  2. Lobar pneumonia follows an inflammation of one lobe of the lung, which includes all the air spaces in the specific lobe
  3. Lipoid pneumonia is simply the accretion of fats in the airspace

That is not all though. Pneumonia can also be divided into varying types depending on the germs that cause the disease. For example, bacterial pneumonia is caused by the presence of bacteria, the most common of which is known as streptococcus.

Respiratory viruses can also cause viral pneumonia, particularly in infants and the elderly. However, in majority cases, it subsides quickly. Mycoplasma pneumonia is a combination of both instances mentioned above while fungal pneumonia is the ill effect of soil and bird droppings.


Symptoms of pneumonia
Signs of pneumonia can change depending on whether the condition is mild or extreme and also, the type of infection that the patient develops. The most common indicators of the ailment are abundant coughing. While coughing is a precursor to several health concerns, wheezing linked to pneumonia will generally be accompanied by the excretion of excess phlegm. This is dense, yellow material that originates from mucus. It can also be bloody in severe cases.

Similarly, high fever can be a signal that something worse is around the corner and the same applies to pneumonia too. It is often connected with the sensation of chills through the body. Sometimes, as was the case with a 15-year-old teenager, he acquired a chronic cough, but showed no other systems; however, after visiting the doctor, he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

Alternatively, other manifestations include chest congestion and agony, which worsens as you breathe. A disconcerting headache and a general loss of appetite. This can often lead to diminished energy and/or fatigue.


Although anyone can develop the condition, there are some who are at greater risk than others when it pertains to respiratory illness. Determinants which augment the element of risk include people with a compromised immune system, poor health, senior citizens and cigarette smoking, to mention a few. The adverse effects that smoking has on the human body are well known. The phrase ‘smoking is injurious to health’ is a common disclaimer that is often found on the packaging of cigarettes.

A respiratory infection can also lead to the advent of pneumonia. For instance, if a patient has recently suffered from a bout of influenza or laryngitis, it may well turn in to pneumonia. Also, those who experience difficulty in swallowing, which can happen because of various issues, are also prone to developing the disease.

Moreover, patients with bronchitis and fibrosis or any other lung oriented illness are increasingly vulnerable. Experiencing augmented stress or trauma can trigger pneumonia and so can live in a nursing accommodation. All in all, there are multiple risk factors associated with pneumonia.


Sometimes, doctors may encounter difficulty in diagnosing the infection. Like asthma and bronchitis, pneumonia shares many of the same symptoms. For example, coughing and chest pain are common indicators of several diseases, which is the main reason doctors are hard pressed may have to run a series of tests.

When you consult a physician, they may run tests related to your breathing and question you regarding how long you’ve had coughing and if it contains phlegm. Problems with inhaling and exhaling and checking your body temperature is another diagnosis that may arise.


In terms of treatment, there are different routes that patients can take. Conventional wisdom suggests that a doctor must be consulted primarily. This will lead to prescribed treatment of the disease. Antibiotics and antiviral medication may be given by doctors, subject to the cause and severity of pneumonia. Examples of suitable pharmaceuticals include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Pneumonia can also be treated at home. This would ideally include plenty of rest combined with the prescribed medication and an abundance of water intake.

In extreme cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This happens when a patient has another condition which can cause complications and subsequently, the situation can worsen. Also, appropriate diagnosis is necessary to determine how the individual initially acquired these diseases. Doctors monitor your vitals, such as your heart rate while you are admitted. They will also inject intravenous antibiotics into the system and employ oxygen therapy to assuage the patient.

Bottom line is if you acquire severe coughing that doesn’t appear to diminish, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.

The A-Z of Snoring

Woman in bed with snoring spouse
Photo by Wavebreakmedia –

Like the picture above shows, you may have had an unfortunate experience with snoring. If you share a bedroom with your spouse or had a sleepover with friends, chances are you may have heard one of those people wheezing while you’re trying to sleep. There is always the chance that you’re the one who really snores!

Although it may prove to be a nuisance, it begs the question. What does snoring actually entail and what causes it? We will delve into this issue in order to understand exactly what snoring is and what causes it.

Defining Snoring

Snoring is a hoarse, rattling noise a person exudes while sleeping. The science behind it is that the soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils, and muscles located at the back of the throat rub against each other. The resulting friction is what generates a rough sound during sleep. In other words, it is due to the obstructed air movement during breathing during sleep. The following video is a well-documented illustration of what happens if the muscles in the back of the throat contract too much. 

As a matter of fact, snoring is a frequent occurrence in men and women. One in five adults have chronic snoring while 45% snore sporadically. In addition, the chances of snoring are directly proportional to age. As we grow older, so does the prospect of snoring. More than half of adults aged 60 and above snore regularly.

Furthermore, snoring may be a significant precursor to a disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This phenomenon transpires when a portion of the airway is blocked when a person tries to inhale during sleep. This generally occurs on the back of the throat. The consequence is that breathing ceases for more than 10 seconds as a stretch before normal service is resumed.

The astonishing fact about obstructive sleep apnea is that it occurs several times during the average sleeping pattern at night. Naturally, patients with sleep apnea snore considerably and quite loudly for that matter. The contraction of the airways causes sleep apnea since the tissues of the throat are inflamed.

That is not all there is to snoring. The action may be connected to physical ailments or anxiety as well. One such case which may be hard to believe but truly exists is socially unacceptable snoring. This means that the snoring sounds are significant enough to inhibit others from sleeping.

Image of man snoring

Snoring Symptoms

We have already established that snoring may be linked to the disorder of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Now we can consider the signals of snoring that could potentially mean much more.

If an individual experiences breathing pauses while asleep and if they’re partner observes it or someone happens to witness it, then that could mean that they suffer from the condition. If a person is sleeping abundantly during the day then that could also mean that they might have OSA. The main concern that presents itself when trying to gauge symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is that they can occur with countless other ailments and infections as well.

Nevertheless, if other symptoms exhibit, then they must be dealt with by visiting a doctor. If an individual has debilitating headaches and trouble focusing, that could also be a sign of sleep apnea. Restless sleeping patterns and impromptu choking, particularly when asleep are other clues. Fatigue, high blood pressure, chest congestion, dry mouth and extraordinary snoring round out a major list of symptoms. If any combination of these begins to manifest themselves, then a specialist must be consulted.
Anatomy of Human Nasal Path

Causes of Snoring

There are multiple determinants that are catalysts of snoring. One factor that induces snoring is the anatomy of the person’s mouth. Anatomy refers to bodily structures. In this particular case, having a low and dense soft palate can narrow the airways. Obese individuals are specifically at risk, since they may have extra tissues at the end of their throat. Also, if the triangular tissue which hangs from the uvula is elongated, it could barricade the flow of air.

Additionally, alcohol has the potential to engender a person with snoring. Most kinds of alcoholic beverages are a detriment to a person’s health. If they are habitual drinkers, specifically before bedtime, then that could incite episodes of snoring. This is because alcohol has the propensity to relax throat muscles and the natural defenses of the throat are weakened.

The position a person sleeps in can also be conducive to snoring. For instance, those who rest on their back are more likely to snore as gravity’s effect on their throats narrows the airways. The same principle applies to a lack of sleep. If you do not get sufficient sleep, it can relax the throat more than required, which can provoke snoring at night. Lastly, nasal allergies, especially of the chronic variety or even a crooked partition, referred to as a deviated nasal septum, between the nostrils can produce snoring in people.

Risks Associated with Snoring

Snoring has potential health risks. Those who do it chronically may eventually suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which we discussed in detail above. The risks of OSA include interruptions when breathing. These delays can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, depending on severity. Obviously, this is caused by fragmented or total hindrance of the airways.

Sleep apnea can also initiate routine waking from sleep, which would involve the person not knowing the actual cause of why they suddenly woke up. They may just shrug it off without knowing that they could be suffering from a legitimate disorder.

Light sleeping is an extension of this occurrence. Individuals may awake several times during the night and often at the slightest sound even without a distraction in the room. This may impact their sleeping cycle as well. They will also be unable to have a deeper sleep and will spend their nights being disturbed.

Another risk brought about by snoring is that it could put a strain on the heart. Protracted suffering from obstructive sleep apnea can influence the cardiac organ. This would involve elevated blood pressure and greater risk of having a heart attack too.

Snoring does not mean you have OSA, but if you feel you might have it, speak to your doctor. He/She can recommend sleep studies (usually done at a hospital) to confirm if you have it and if you do, there are ways to correct it. If you don’t but you do snore, there are devices that may help you. Just Google snoring devices or a similar term to find a device that you think may work for you.

Remember These Things if You Care About a Person with Asthma

Asthma Inhaler
Typical inhaler used by asthmatics. Pixaby

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways which is commonly associated with chest tightness, recurrent wheezing, coughing, and breathlessness. Asthmatics often have to use inhalers in order to feel better. Many different environmental, psychological, and dietary factors can trigger the symptoms of asthma, leaving the asthmatic feeling sickly, unfit or inadequate. 

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and by the year 2025, these figures will grow by more than 100 million. In severity, asthma varies from person to person and changes seasonally which often makes it difficult to understand how an asthmatic can be helped or made comfortable.

We’ll share a number of options to consider when living or spending time with someone who has asthma so that they can feel more comfortable and help ease their pain.

Environments that Can be Harmful to People with Asthma


Never Smoke Near Asthmatic People

No Smoking SignIf you are in the vicinity of a person with asthma, don’t light up your cigarette without asking. Smoking makes it difficult for an asthma patient to breathe and it may even trigger an asthma attack. Even if the person only has mild asthma, second-hand smoking can lead to serious health risks, so be sure to never blow smoke at them.

Asthma Can Get Worse From Dust

If you’re living with an asthma patient, remember that dust can present serious risks and significantly affect their breathing. Luckily, it’s very easy to handle dust issues. Make sure to keep the house well ventilated by opening windows for few hours. Mopping, vacuuming, and dusting regularly are also important to ensure that the dust does not build up in the house.

Asthma triggers 2

Pets Can be Dangerous

Oftentimes, pets’ fur can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. This should always be kept in mind when deciding to buy a pet if you live with a person who has asthma. If you own a pet already, keep it well-groomed and also keep the sofas, bed, and other furniture clean from their fur.

Perfumes Can Cause a Reaction

Some deodorants and perfumes can affect the airways of an asthma patient and make it difficult for them to breathe.  When you spray perfumes, make sure that your asthmatic friend or family member is not in the room, or use subtle fragrances instead of strong ones.

Keep Them Stress-Free 

Distressed IndividualStress psychologically affects our immune system. During high stress, the immune system becomes weak as the brain diverts most of the internal resources towards immediate survival instead of focusing on wellbeing in the long term. When stressed, asthmatics start to suffer from acute asthma symptoms like breathlessness or shortness of breath.

Stressful situations are often exacerbated by loneliness, isolation, and the inability to cope with the disease. Offering to provide help with their work or just chatting with them can often work better than any other remedy and help reduce their symptoms.   

Sensitivity to Some Medicines

Approximately 10-20% of adults with asthma have a sensitivity to a group of painkillers called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. To reduce fever and treat pain, these drugs are used frequently and for an asthma patient, without these drugs, it becomes difficult to treat a headache, cold, or cough.

The label of the medicine should always be checked before buying them for an asthmatic to avoid harmful reactions. A doctor should be made aware of the patient’s condition so that they take precautions when prescribing the medicines.

Hard Time with Colds and Cough

Asthma patients frequently suffer from inflamed airways which make colds and coughs quite distressing for them. If you know a person who has asthma, you should encourage them to adopt a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits as it would bolster their immune system to fight colds and coughs.

If your family member suffers from asthma, keep cold and cough medicines readily available to ease their illness, but be cautious of medicines that can aggravate the symptoms.

Breaks are Required During Exercise

An asthmatic should not be expected to compete with others in strenuous activities. Asthma patients can perform routine work, but it should be remembered that they are likely to take more time to recover from labor or exercise and frequent breaks may be needed for them to recuperate. An asthmatic may feel inadequate because of this so never make an issue of it.  

Living with an asthmatic is not burdensome and with just a few changes, you can make life easier for them. Maintain an open environment so that whenever they need help, they can reach out to you for assistance and comfort.