Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring is caused when an obstruction of air flow through the passages at the back of the nose and mouth causes the tissue to vibrate. Most adults occasionally snore, but there are instances in which snoring is a serious problem and accompanied by sleep apnea, which involves a stoppage of breathing during sleep. And when children chronically snore it could be a symptom of problems with tonsils or adenoids.
Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Poor muscle tone in the throat or tongue
- Bulky throat tissue
- Elongated soft palate or uvula
- Obstructed nasal passages
Snoring is not always serious, but it can be. It can cause long-term health problems, especially when it interferes with quality or amount of sleep. It can also affect intimate relationships and cause health problems for people sharing your sleeping space.
Snoring can also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when breathing pauses for more than 10 seconds at a time multiple times throughout the night. This decreases the oxygen in the blood and forces the heart to work harder while a person sleep. Sleep apnea results in poor rest and puts a person at risk for serious, and potentially fatal, cardiovascular consequences.