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Snoring is, at its simplest, vibration in the throat, mouth and nose and the sound that results. It is due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. In some cases the sound may be soft, but in other cases it can be loud and unpleasant. Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA.)
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to snorers and those around them. If you snore and have symptoms such as daytime drowsiness, irritability, lack of focus, or sleepiness while driving, it may be a sign of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a risk factor for hypertension, diabetes, heart problems and stroke. A sleep specialist can diagnose and treat sleep apnea.
40% of adult men and 24% of women are habitual snorers.
Almost all treatments for snoring focus on clearing the blockage in the breathing passage. Many patients are advised to do one or more of the following:
A number of other treatment options are also available, ranging from over-the-counter aids such as nasal or lubricating sprays and nasal strips or nose clips to “anti-snore” clothing and pillows.
Specially made dental appliances called mandibular advancement splints are a common treatment for snoring. They move the lower jaw forward slightly, pulling the tongue forward. Such appliances have been proven to be effective in reducing snoring and sleep apnea in cases where the apnea is mild to moderate.
Positive Airway Pressure
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is often used to control sleep apnea and the snoring associated with it. To keep the airway open, a device pumps a controlled stream of air through a flexible hose to a mask worn over the nose, mouth, or both.
Surgery is sometimes advised to correct snoring. Some procedures, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, attempt to widen the airway by removing tissues in the back of the throat, including the uvula and pharynx. These surgeries are quite invasive, however, and there are risks of adverse side effects. Your sleep physician can give you more information about surgery and other treatments for snoring.