Snoring can be caused by a number of things, from the vibrating movement of the uvula to poor muschle tone in the throat and tongue. Bulky throat tissue from being overweight can even contribute to snoring. The uvula is the small mass of tissue that hangs down from the middle of the soft palate. When a person sleeps, the uvula and the soft palate relax and vibrating movements occur, causing the snoring sound. Approximately, 40 percent of men snore and only 30 percent of women snore. Additionally, overweight individuals often have problems with snoring more than those in healthy ranges.
Symptoms and signs
Many times, snoring occurs in the presence of other signs and symptoms. These are indicators that there could be an underlying health condition that should be treated. Some symptoms and signs to look for include:
- Frequent sore throats
- Nasal drainage and congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes and sneezing
- Frequent fatigue and drowsiness
- Nose Bleeds
- Mouth breathing
Causes and concerns
There are many causes of snoring and most are easily treated. One main cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious medical condition. What happens during the course of the night is the person will experience anywhere from 30 to 300 breathing pauses lasting approximately 10 seconds. The pauses are caused by the airway collapse and narrowing. The reduction in blood oxygen increases blood pressure and can strain the heart. If sleep apnea continues without treatment, it puts you at a higher risk for developing several health problems including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While not all cases of snoring are attributed to sleep apnea, it’s important to rule this cause out.
Other causes of snoring include:
- Sinus infection
- Deviated septum
- Thick throat tissue
- Too much soft tissue in the neck
- Tonsils and adenoids (primarily children)
Solutions and options
There are many treatment options available for people who snore. If the person is overweight, then weight loss may cure the problem. Additionally, other lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol at night, sedatives or allergy treatment may produce successful results. Surgical options are available when other treatment options have failed. For example, tissue removal and implants are two surgical options.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment and is used by thousands of people who suffer from sleep apnea. A CPAP device involves a mask that is worn over the nose and mouth that is connected to a machine that delivers a positive amount of pressure. This is done to keep the airway open. If you or someone you love has sleep apnea, call our office for an appointment with one of our caring ear, nose and throat specialists.
Some homecare tips for those who snore:
- Try to sleep on your side not your back.
- Elevate your head with a few extra pillows.
- Get into a regular sleep routine (go to bed and rise at the same time).
- Eat healthy food, exercise, quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.
- Avoid using sleeping aids or sedatives.
Snoring does not have to be an issue in your life. There are plenty of solutions and options to help you stop snoring. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms and signs associated with snoring, consider an evaluation with one of our competent ear, nose and throat specialists.