With our understanding of the underlying mechanisms, the various cause of snoring and their association with sleeping now become clear. Narrowing of the upper air passages. Any increased bulk in the soft tissues of the throat effectively narrows the airway by up space. This, as we have learned, encourages snoring. Large tonsils or adenoids for example, occupy space in the air passages and bulky neck tissues in some heavyset individuals have a similar effect,
Much of our understanding of these anatomic factors is attributed to the diligent work of a Japanese physician, who rightfully deserves the title, Father of snoring, Dr Takenosuke Ikematsu dedicated his practice in Noda City, Japan, to snoring patients. Between 1952 and 1991, more than 25,000 snorers from all over that country sought evaluation and treatment. Keeping meticulous records, Dr Ikematsu developed a system he called mesopharyngimetry. By measuring various internal dimension of the throat, he could correlate these measurements with degrees of snoring. This system of observed pharyngeal change in habitual snorers includes one or several of the following:
- An elongated uvula
- Lowering or dropping of the soft plate
- Prominent tonsillar pillars
- Enlargement and thickening of the uvula
- Large tonsils
- Narrowing or funneling of the back of the throat
- An enlarge tongue
Dr. Ikematsu discovered that more than 90 percent of perpetual snorers demonstrated one or more of these anatomic changes. The wide variety if sizes and shapes seen within the mouths of habitual tissue or loose vibrating structure can be associated with snoring. Many adult snorers have enlarged, fleshy tonsils, often associated with long or swollen uvula and a prominent tongue. In addition, a receding chin cause the tongue to protrude into the back of the throat, partially blocking the airway.
However, some habitual snorers, in good general health, may perfectly normal throat anatomy without displaying any of these described obstructive changes, making the riddle of snoring ever more complex.