There are approximately 15 million snorers in Britain. That’s as many as one in four people in England who snore regularly and although it is something that is sometimes overlooked, it is important to understand exactly what causes snoring and what you can do to stop snoring.
What causes snoring?
If you have come across this webpage because you or your partner have been snoring, then you will be familiar with the unpleasant sound a person may make when they breathe in and out during sleep, also known as snoring. The noise occurs when the soft palate and tissue in the mouth, nose or throat start vibrating. This could project as a rattling noise or snorting sound of which the volume can vary.
Who does snoring commonly effect?
Snoring can affect people of all ages, including children, although it’s most common in adults aged 40-60. It is also believed that roughly twice as many men than women snore, but it is important to remember that snoring may not only affect the individual but may be a cause for concern to their partner or household member also.
So you may be asking yourself, what causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when you sleep and your airways relax and narrow. It can also happen if your airways are partially blocked due to a cold or illness. Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissue in your head and neck as you breathe in and out during sleep. It is believed that the narrowing of the airways increases the speed you breathe out, which in turn changes the air pressure in your airways. This then causes the soft tissue to vibrate by sucking the side of your airways in. It can affect the soft palate in the roof of your mouth, your nasal passages, your tonsils, uvula, and the base of your tongue
So what may put you more at risk of snoring?
Some factors that could affect your risk of habitual snoring include obesity, alcohol consumption, sedatives and some types of antidepressants, smoking and allergic rhinitis where the inside of your nose becomes swollen and inflamed due to an allergic reaction.
Will snoring go on its own or is it something that needs treatment?
Evidence proves that snoring may get worse over time if left untreated. What this means is the vibrations occurring during snoring can damage the blood vessels that supply muscles in the head and neck. This over a period of time can cause the muscles to weaken. If your head and neck muscles are weakened, your ability to keep your airways open may get slimmer which could mean you snore more frequently and loudly.
Could snoring be a sign of something more serious?
The answer is yes. Snoring unfortunately can be a symptom of sleep disordered breathing called Sleep Apnea, which can be hard to identify without a recommended Sleep Study. Unfortunately undiagnosed Sleep Apnea can carry serious health risks so it is always better to test for Sleep Apnea if you commonly snore, so you can be sure you are diagnosed correctly, without putting your health on the line.
How can you identify if your snoring could be a symptom of having Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is very common, but unfortunately less than one in three sufferers know that they have it which can later cause complications to their health if left untreated. Apnea is most common in middle-aged men, of whom 2-4% are sufferers, according to the British Thoracic Society. It is important to remember though that this category are just the majority and it can affect almost anyone. It is advised that if you snore on a regular basis, then you should order a Sleep Study test to determine whether your snoring could be a sign of something more serious like Sleep Apnea. It is more cost effective to get diagnosed early on and determine the cause of your snoring, as the implications could ultimately save you money in the long term on healthcare costs, as well as repairing relationships with your partners or family members who might also be affected.
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