Snoring is very common among adults. During sleep, the airway muscles in the throat relax. As you breathe in, the airway vibrates, making noise. Snoring frequently results from turbulent airflow and narrowing in the nose or throat that creates noise while you breathe during sleep.
DiagnosisYou should contact your doctor if your snoring is bothersome, affects your sleep quality, or you suspect that you have sleep apnea. Your doctor will review your medical history and ask you some questions about your sleep patterns. Your doctor will carefully examine the structures in your nose and throat. You may be referred to a sleep study center so that your doctor can learn more about your sleep patterns and identify sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
Over-the-counter products, such as nasal strips and special pillows, may help to keep the airway open during sleep and prevent snoring. Your dentist can create a mouthpiece for you to wear at night to position your jaw to help keep the airway open. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) nasal device to help keep your airway open at night. CPAP is used as a treatment for snoring, as well as sleep apnea.
Surgery may be used to remove nasal polyps or correct a deviated septum. Surgery may also be used to treat structural deformities on the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat. In some cases, injections may be used to increase the firmness of the palate at the roof of the mouth.
Am I at Risk
There are several risk factors for snoring:
_____ Nasal obstructions, such as polyps, congestion, or a deviated septum can cause snoring.
_____ Throat obstructions, including enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or extra tissue can cause snoring.
_____ Obesity increases the risk of snoring, particularly in people with large neck sizes.
_____ Women may experience snoring during their last month of pregnancy.
_____ Consuming alcohol before going to sleep increases the risk of snoring because alcohol causes the throat muscles to relax.
_____ Certain medications, such as sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, and antihistamines, can relax the throat and contribute to snoring.
_____ Sleeping on your back increases the risk of snoring. Sleeping on your side may reduce snoring.
_____ The risk of snoring increases with age. Your throat muscles become more relaxed as you get older.
ComplicationsSnoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which people stop breathing during their sleep. If your partner or household members have heard you snore, stop breathing, and gasp for air, you may have sleep apnea and should contact your doctor. Other signs of sleep apnea include daytime drowsiness and headaches upon awakening. Untreated sleep apnea can be life threatening and result in stroke, heart attack, or death.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.