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Snoring may be a minor annoyance or it may indicate a more serious medical problem.

Does your partner complain that you keep them up at night due to your snoring? While many people snore on occasion, which may be harmless, chronic snoring may be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Want to know more about snoring? Read on!

Do most people snore?

It is estimated that about 45 percent of adults snore occasionally, with about 25 percent snoring regularly. You’re more likely to snore if you are overweight and you’re also more likely to snore the older you get. Middle aged and older men, as well as post-menopausal women, are the most likely to snore. People are more likely to snore if they sleep on their back or after they have consumed alcohol.

What causes the sound you hear when you snore?

The sound you hear when someone snores is the sound of obstructed breathing. When air flows past the tissue in your throat, the tissue may vibrate and this causes the sound. Poor muscle tone, bulky throat tissue or structural issues related to your soft palate or uvula may be to blame. You may also snore if you have nasal congestion or a deviated septum. One of the most serious causes of snoring is sleep apnea. This sleep disorder can cause serious health problems if left untreated.

Should you talk to a doctor about your snoring?

If you snore regularly, especially if your sleep partner has noticed that you snort or gasp for breath on occasion, it’s a good idea to discuss your snoring with your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor if you find that you wake up tired no matter how long you sleep. These signs should not be ignored because they may indicate you have sleep apnea. The condition can be diagnosed by undergoing a sleep study.

What happens if you have sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes your breathing to be briefly interrupted throughout your sleep. When this happens, blood oxygen levels fall and a surge of adrenaline jolts you out of a deep sleep so you can take a breath. These breathing disruptions may happen a few times an hour or even as often as every minute.

If left untreated, sleep apnea raises your risk of serious health issues. It can also increase your risk of dying prematurely. That’s because sleep apnea may cause cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. It may increase your risk of obesity and diabetes. It may also make it more likely that you’ll experience a car accident or other mishap due to daytime sleepiness. The sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea may increase your risk of experiencing anxiety and depression and may make it harder to do tasks involving memory and learning.

How do you treat sleep apnea?

If it is determined that you have sleep apnea, a CPAP device may help. This device gently blows air into your throat to keep your airway open while you sleep so you don’t experience the episodes of interrupted breathing that sleep apnea causes. Using a CPAP device can help you lower the health risks associated with sleep apnea.

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Date Last Reviewed: May 18, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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