What causes snoring?
The noisy sounds of snoring happen when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring happen when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing.
In children, snoring may be a sign of problems with the tonsils and adenoids. A chronically snoring child should be look at by an otolaryngologist, who may recommend a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to return the child to full health.
Why is snoring serious?
Socially – Snoring can make the snorer an object of ridicule and can reason the bed partner to experience sleepless nights and fatigue.
Medically – It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of adequate rest. It may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to grave, long-term health problems.
How is heavy snoring evaluated?
Heavy snorers should seek medical advice to ensure that sleep apnea is not a problem. Heavy snorers contain people who snore constantly in any situation or who negatively impact a bed partner’s sleep. An otolaryngologist will give a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat, palate, and neck, often using a fiber optic scope. An examination can reveal if the snoring is reason by nasal allergy, infection, nasal obstruction, or enlargement of tonsils and adenoids. A sleep study in a laboratory or at home may be necessary to determine if snoring is due to OSA.
All snorers with any of the following symptoms should be evaluated for possible obstructive sleep apnea:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- History of a stroke
- Witnessed episodes of breath pauses or apnea during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue