Causes of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Why do I snore?

When you breathe (inhale and exhale) air flows in a smooth constant streamline path with no turbulence. Obstructions that occur along the path of airflow lead to irregular, turbulent air movement. Air turbulence is often associated by irregular vibration of the structures of the upper airway. The subsequent sound, snoring, may range from mild to severe.

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What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which patients have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur thirty times or more an hour. Normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort, gasp or choking sound.

Obstructive sleep apnea usually is a chronic condition that disturbs sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.

The most common obstruction in the air way is the throat muscles and tongue. In sleep muscle tone is reduced.

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What are some of the anatomic causes of snoring?

Snoring is usually associated with abnormalities of the soft palate or uvula. A floppy soft or overly long palate may vibrate irregularly with airflow. This irregular vibration makes a sound – snoring.

Other anatomical causes of snoring include:

  • enlarged tongue base
  • small jaw
  • enlarged uvula or tonsils
  • floppy neck soft tissues
  •  deviated septum
  • inferior turbinate hypertrophy
  • polyps
  • chronic and allergic nasal congestion
  • enlarged adenoids
  • nasopharyngeal growths
  • Also, snoring may be increased by alcohol consumption late at night (which causes more muscle relaxation)

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Impact of Snoring, how common is snoring?

Snoring is widespread, and is believed to affect as many as 50% of adults including both men and women; over 45 million Americans.

I am told that I snore at night. Is this why I am tired in the morning?

Drowsiness, irritability, and decreased libido can all be related with snoring. Snoring is independently associated with daytime drowsiness, and not merely a proxy for sleep apnea

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Does snoring affect my heart?

People who snore have been shown to have increased rates of hypertension (elevated blood pressure) when compared to those who do not snore. Studies have also shown a positive correlation between loud snoring and the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Attack


What about snoring and diabetes?

Diabetes is strongly related to cardiovascular disease and early death. There is evidence that in diabetic patients with sleep apnea, diabetic complications lessen when a patients’ sleep apnea is brought under control.

apnea and diabetes


Are there any risks of snoring specific to women?

For women of child-bearing age, snoring and sleep apnea seem to be related to some complications during pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia.

My bed partner tells me I snore through the night. I wake up a little tired. Am I safe to drive?

Drowsy driving is a serious problem. Patient fall asleep at the wheel because of chronic non-rejuvenating sleep. Research shows that untreated sleep apnea to be “a significant contributor to motor vehicle crashes.” Furthermore, individuals with OSA are at increased risk for vehicle crashes.

Sleep is a vital component to your overall health. If you snore or suspect you have sleep apnea then call our office at 832-487-0647. We help Pasadena and Deer Park Texas with their snoring and sleep apnea problems.

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