Most of us know someone who snores or is a snorer. While it occurs in both men and women, men are more frequent offenders. And while it occurs in both young and old, age does increase your tendency.
Although snoring on occasion is not a cause for concern, if you snore frequently, it may be a sign of a more serious issue. It can disrupt the your sleep, and the sleep that you do get may not be quality sleep.
So, what causes snoring, and when should you be concerned?
Snoring essentially involves the physical obstruction of air flowing from the nose or throat into the lungs. What is causing the obstruction, however, varies.
- Allergies: Sometimes snoring is seasonal and comes hand in hand with season allergies or the occasional sinus infection. Even a cold can cause snoring.
- Deviated Septum: A deviated septum occurs when there is a structural problem within the wall (septum) that separates the nostrils from each other.
- Nasal Polyps: Polyps are typically associated with allergies and/or asthma as well, but unlike a stuffy nose, there are often no symptoms of polyp- particularly small ones. Still, these polyps can block the airway.
- Poor Muscle Tone: When the muscles within the throat and the tongue are too relaxed, they can fall back and end up collapsing, blocking the airway. While this can be genetic or due to age, it can also be caused by the use of depressants, such as alcohol and/or sleeping medication.
- Long Soft Palate and Uvula: A soft palate and uvula that is long may cause the opening from the nose to the throat to become narrowed and when the two rub against one another it can become even more obstructed—both of which can cause snoring.
Snoring can result in lost sleep, frequent waking, and even more serious issues like heart attack and stroke. Occasional snoring may or may not be a sign of something more simple. It is best to consult a doctor to see if diet, exercise, medication, and/or rhinoplasty can help