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Snoring Causes & Symptoms

Why do I snore?

Snoring is a noise that occurs during sleep when the natural air flow through upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) is obstructed. It is extremely common; about 45% of adults snore occasionally, and 25% of adults are habitual snorers. The problem is more present in males and overweight people and can get worse as a person gets older.

What causes snoring?

Snoring is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway, which can vary in severity and eventually lead to obstructive sleep disorder (OSA) in serious cases. In most cases, the snoring sound is a result of the tongue and upper throat meeting the soft palate and uvula. When these areas make contact  during breathing, it causes a vibration and a snoring sound. That is also referred to as a webbing of the soft palate.

Why does snoring occur?

Snoring is often the result of a nasal obstruction occurring from a blocked or stuffy nose. This condition can create an exaggerated breathing that often makes a snoring sound. Poor muscle tone in the tongue and the throat can cause snoring when tongue is dropping into the airway and disrupt the normal airflow. Excessive throat tissue (enlarged uvula or tonsils) can also cause airway narrowing and inability to breathe normally.

How does heavy snoring affect a person?

Socially, a heavy snorer may disrupt a bed partner to the point of causing him/her lack of sleep and fatigue. In serious cases, snoring may also affect others in the same household or bedroom.

Medically, heavy snoring can lead to a serious condition because it disturbs a persons’ regular sleep pattern. It can also be an indicator of OSA, which can cause long-term health issues (high blood pressure, heart disease, restlessness and fragmented sleep).

How is snoring diagnosed?

If you experience heavy snoring, seek medical advice from an ear, nose and throat doctor, such as ENT in Cayman Ltd. Doctors will thoroughly examine the nose, mouth and throat (upper airways), sometimes using a fiberoptic endoscope. This examination reveals potential obstruction and lets doctors know whether the snoring is being caused by airway problems in the upper airways. Additionally, doctors may conduct a home- based sleep study (Polysomnography) to rule out OSA.

How do I stop snoring?

Snoring often improves often through weight loss if the Body-Mass-Index (BMI) is above normal. If snoring is persistent, solutions will vary depending on the level of snoring and the area that is causing the snoring. These options may include nasal turbinoplasty, nasal septoplasty, uvulapalatopharyngoplasty (UVPP), tonsil ablation, radiofrequency ablation of soft palate and tongue base and oral appliances (mouthguard).

If you are suffering from snoring, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor.

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