AS A CULTURE, we tend to think of snoring as something significant others and family members have to deal with rather than as a health concern for the person who snores. However, this symptom is one that should be taken seriously, particularly in the case of chronic snoring.
What Causes Snoring?
A number of factors could lead to chronic snoring. Here are the most common ones:
- Oral anatomy: someone with a low, thick soft palate is more likely to snore because it can narrow the airway during sleep. An elongated uvula can also cause an obstruction and increase the likelihood of it.
- Weight: someone who is overweight may have a narrower airway due to extra tissue in the back of the throat.
- Alcohol consumption: consuming too much alcohol before bedtime relaxes the muscles of the throat and lowers natural defenses against airway obstruction.
- Nasal problems: chronic congestion or a deviated septum could contribute to it as it prevents nasal breathing.
- Sleep deprivation: when we don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to further relaxation of the throat.
- Sleep position: back sleepers are more likely to snore due to the effect gravity has on the throat.
Snoring Risk Factors
Some people are more at risk of habitual snoring than others. Individuals who are overweight and obese, particularly men, and people with a family history of it are at greater risk of developing chronic, habitual snoring. A narrow airway (whether due to a long soft palate or large tonsils or adenoids), nasal problems, or frequent alcohol consumption can also increase the risk.
Symptoms of Chronic Snoring
It’s not always easy to detect habitual snoring, especially if there is no family member or bed partner within earshot. However, it is typically the primary symptom associated with a life-threatening sleep-related breathing disorder, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); this condition can lead to many short and long term health complications, even death.
If snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, OSA might be the cause:
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Headaches in the morning
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Choking or gasping at night
- High Blood Pressure
- Nighttime chest pain
- Loud enough to disrupt a partner’s sleep
- In kids: short attention span, behavioral issues, poor performance in school
It’s important to note that not all people who snore have OSA, which is why testing is important to determine the root cause for the snoring.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep-related breathing disorder. It happens as a result of a narrowed airway. In addition, the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep and can block the airflow completely. The body’s natural response is gasping and brief moments of wakefulness.
Come See Us With Your Snoring Concerns
If you or a member of your family suffer with chronic snoring and live in or near Jupiter, Florida, schedule a consultation with Snoring and Sleep Apnea Therapy LLC. If Dr. Burman suspects you have sleep apnea, he can refer you to a medical doctor in the area for a sleep study. Following a diagnosis, Dr. Burman can help develop a treatment plan for better sleep hygiene and improved quality of life.