Snoring is often treated as an embarrassment or a comical problem, but its health implications run far deeper. For the many millions of Americans who snore during their sleep every night, the snoring can be a harbinger of significant health problems including drowsiness, mood disorders, heart problems, and even loss of cognitive function. Snoring isn’t all that funny.
Many patients ask us at the LA Sinus Institute what causes their snoring, and what they can do about it. There is no singular answer to these questions: snoring may arise for any number of reasons, and can be treated with a wide variety of interventions. The right treatment depends on the right diagnosis, and that requires spending some time in a sleep clinic, and receiving an evaluation from an experienced ENT who can analyze the mechanics of your nighttime respiration.
The most common cause of snoring is undoubtedly muscle tone: when muscles in the tongue and throat become slack, they can sag and block the airway. Indeed, the telltale roar of a human snore is the result of turbulence traveling through these muscle tissues. Muscle laxity can be caused by poor conditioning, alcohol consumption, medicines such as sleep aids, or extreme fatigue.
But these same tissues can also get in the way by simply being oversized: when obesity is present, it may extend into the tissues of the mouth and throat, leading to a suffusion of muscle and adipose tissue which interferes with breathing. The cure for this, obviously, is to improve your BMI and work on the root issues that make the tissues swell.
Some people also experience snoring on a provisional basis, as a result of illness. Among the major causes of snoring, illness – such as a cold or infection – is the most easily treatable, and the least dangerous over the long term. Still, even these patients should consider interventions if the snoring poses a danger because they already suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which puts a dangerous strain on the heart.
The final cause of snoring are anatomical obstructions such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. Both present a sort of permanent barrier to airflow, rendering your nighttime respiration difficult and stressful. There is no direct cure for these outside of surgery: nasal polyp removal and septoplasty, respectively. Both are effective in resolving the issue, and both can be performed with minimal recovery time.
If you want lasting solutions to a snoring problem, you have come to the right place. Visit the Los Angeles Sinus Institute to get all your snoring questions answered today.