Snoring is a harsh or hoarse sound that people emit when their airway is partly obstructed while they’re sleeping. The noises can annoy other people who sleep in the same room, possibly even keeping them awake. Snoring can also be a sign of a potentially serious health condition, which is why anyone who snores should consider seeing a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine.
Many different issues can make a person snore. Some are as innocent as sleeping in a particular position. Others are much more serious. The more serious causes of snoring include the anatomy of a person’s mouth and nasal passages and obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea makes the muscles in the throat relax and temporarily close off the airway. This, in turn, can lead to snoring. For people who have obstructive sleep apnea, consuming alcohol and not getting enough sleep can make the throat muscles relax more and exacerbate the snoring they cause.
Snoring is usually diagnosed based on a patient’s or their family member’s observations. After all, these are the most likely people to hear a person snoring. When a patient exhibits signs of snoring, however, doctors use other methods to identify the potential cause of the snoring. Depending on a person’s snoring patterns, a doctor might suggest taking X-rays or other images of a person’s upper respiratory system, or conducting a sleep study.
There are several ways to treat snoring. Doctors might recommend using CPAP equipment, oral appliances or palatal implants. They may also recommend surgery if a patient’s anatomy is causing the patient to snore.
In addition to these medical treatments, lifestyle changes can also sometimes greatly reduce a person’s snoring. Losing weight, changing sleeping positions, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and getting an adequate amount of sleep can all make a difference.
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