Snoring Causes and Treatment

Snoring is a harsh or hoarse sound that occurs when the air flows through relaxed throat muscles causing them to vibrate as and when you breathe. Nearly everyone snores at one time or the other but for some, it indicates a serious health concern. Long-term snoring is often known to be associated with stroke, heart attacks, diabetes & hypertension.

What are the risk factors associated with snoring?

Some people are more likely to snore than others due to the following risk factors:

  • Decrease in muscle tone due to age
  • Relaxing of muscles due to sedatives and alcohol close to the sleeping time
  • Anatomically, some people have long soft palates or enlarged adenoids or tonsils making it harder for the air to flow.
  • Snoring is also mostly associated with men
  • It may also run in families with people being more prone to snoring if their parents snore too.
  • The overall health of a person in terms of allergies, colds, pregnancy, weight gain or hormonal changes also causes nasal stiffness
  • Sleep-related breathing problems such as snoring are more common in overweight people
  • Snoring may also be associated more with people who have a sedentary lifestyle.

What are the causes of snoring?

Snoring may happen due to lots of reasons. Some of the common problems affecting the nasal airway, thus causing snoring, are as follows:

  • Mouth anatomy: People with a thick low and soft palate have a narrow airway. This may also happen in people who are overweight and have extra fat deposition at the back of the throat.
  • Consumption of alcohol: Snoring is also caused due to consumption of alcohol before or near bedtime. That’s because alcohol causes relaxation of the throat muscles, thus decreasing your natural defense against airway obstruction.
  • Nasal issues: People suffering from chronic nasal congestion or have a crooked nostril partition may also suffer from the problem of snoring.
  • Sleep deprivation: Deprivation of enough sleep also causes relaxation of the throat causing snoring
  • Sleeping position: Snoring is at its loudest and most frequently when a person sleeps on his or her back due to the effect of gravity on the throat.

What are the treatments for snoring?

There are several non-surgical treatments available for treating snoring in a person. These include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Changing your position, maintenance of healthy body weight and avoidance of alcohol before sleep helps in reducing snoring to a large extent.
  • Medications: for allergies and colds to relieve the nasal congestion for free breathing.
  • Nasal strips: there are flexible bands available in the market that can be stuck to the outside of the nose to keep the nasal passages open.
  • Oral appliances: There are several oral appliances available at the chemist that help in keeping the jaw in the right position while sleeping and help in reducing snoring.
  • Positive Pressure airway device: to help keep the airways open during the phase of exposition.

In some cases, there are several surgical methods for correcting structural problems. These include Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty, Radiofrequency ablation, septoplasty, adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy. It is best to first try lifestyle and diet changes before deciding on a surgery.

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