Snoring is a disorder that can happen at any age, although most frequently occurs with overweight males. It is believed snoring affects forty-five percent of adults but twenty-five percent is considered chronic snorers. Snoring is not considered dangerous unless it is caused by sleep apnea which means a person's airway becomes unstopped and the person stops breathing for a short amount of time. Snoring can become a nuisance to one's bed partner disrupting their sleep and the snorer as well. Anyone who snores loudly and feels tired and falls sleep easily through the day should seek professional medical advice.
Causes of snoring
The physical obstruction of the flow of air through the mouth and nose is the cause of snoring. The fatty or weak walls in the throat rattle causing the sound of snoring. Air flow being restricted can be caused from different factors.
Being overweight causes a buildup of fatty throat tissue which restricts the airflow from the nose and mouth as the body sleeps and rests the muscles relax which closes down the airway (especially if someone sleeps on their back) and snoring occurs. This can lead directly to sleep apnea because of the large fatty tissue closing off the airway and stopping the breathing process. The oxygen level decreases which leads to being unrested and the person waking up with a headache from the lack of oxygen. People with large tonsils or adenoids often snore as well.
Another factor in snoring is relaxed muscles in the throat and tongue. An oversized tongue or poor muscle tone can cause the tongue to slip back in the mouth restricting the airflow or creating the rattling effect of snoring. Poor muscle quality in the throat can also contribute to snoring by falling back into the air passageway and restricting the air flow. Age, deep sleep, alcohol, sleeping pills, and smoking all affect the potential of snoring and always best to avoid the lifestyles that can put you at higher risk.
Blocked or partially blocked nasal passes also contribute to the risk of snoring. Nose deformities such as a deviated septum caused from a broken nose or nasal polyps also can lead to snoring. Sometimes snoring is directly related to colds, allergies, or sinus conditions.
Another common cause is an elongated uvula or soft palate can block the airway in the back of the throat causing the person to snore. These two vibrate together it causes the familiar sound of someone snoring.
Health Risks of Snoring
Chronic snorers can have multiple health risks; Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that is common result of snoring. (OSA) is a condition which causes a person to stop breathing as much as 50 times an hour in extreme cases and could have hundreds of episodes throughout the night of not breathing, restless sleep, getting up frequently to use the restroom and disturbing the bed partner during the night. This is a serious condition that can lead to enlarged heart, diabetes and even cardiac arrest. Sufferers will also feel unrested often times have daytime sleepiness and find themselves falling asleep involuntarily while doing everyday tasks such as driving, reading and working at a computer. This can very easily be rented from a lifestyle change (often mild cases can be cured with weight loss and quitting smoking or drinking) or more serious cases will require an apparatus to sleep with such a a (CPAP) Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure administrated by a doctor or even dental appliances or surgery may be required. Sleeping patterns may also help sleeping on the side instead of the back keeps the airway open and will not close due to the position of the tongue and throat. Many companies offer pillows, nasal sprays, nasal strips, special headgear, and even clothing that promote and claim to stop snoring. If it sees to be more than a nuisance and it seems to be a regular occurrence talk to your doctor.