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What May Be Causing You To Snore


Snoring may seem harmless, but it may be a sign from your body that something more serious is going on. Though snoring can be caused by many different things, it is a prominent symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is associated with a few health risks.



What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing, or shallow breaths, while sleeping. This occurs when the soft tissue of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway. These pauses can last from seconds to minutes. When breathing resumes, it is accompanied by a loud snort or choking sound. This disorder often goes undiagnosed due to it taking place during a sleep state. It is often only recognized when a family member or partner is present. Here are a few symptoms to look out for:



  • Shallow breathing during sleep

  • Snorting or choking during sleep

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Poor sleep quality

  • Light sleeping


If Untreated, Sleep Apnea Can:

  • Increase blood pressure

  • Increase the risk of obesity, strokes, heart attacks or diabetes

  • Increase the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat

  • Increase the risk of, heart failure

  • Increase the risk of having a work related or driving related accident


How It Is Treated:

In order to receive treatment, a sleep specialist is consulted. The specialist conducts a medical history and physical exam. Afterwards, they perform a sleep study to determine if the snoring is caused by sleep apnea to further understand how severe the case of sleep apnea is, and to determine what treatment would work best. The treatment with the highest cure rate is using a Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure Machine. This is a nonsurgical option that has a mask that is worn over the nose and mouth while sleeping. Those who cannot use this machine can be treated by the wearing of an oral appliance and/or changing behavior such as exercising and controlling alcohol intake.


There are also a couple less common types of sleep apnea that can be diagnosed by a sleep specialist. The first is Central Sleep Apnea, which involves the central nervous system, where the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. Snoring is not typically a symptom of this type of sleep apnea. Complex Sleep Apnea is the second type of sleep apnea that is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. Snoring may or may not be as prominent in this type of sleep apnea. However, a sleep specialist may find that the snoring is caused by something other than sleep apnea.


Other Causes Of Snoring:

  • Obstructed Airways, which can be caused by: allergies, a┬ásinus infection, a┬ádeviated septum, etc.

  • Poor muscle tone in the tongue or mouth. If this is the cause, the tongue relaxes too much and it falls to the back of the throat, obstructing the airway.

  • Being overweight

  • Having too large of tonsils

  • Having too long of an uvula


If you have any concerns about whether or not you have sleep apnea contact Austin Oral Surgery. Our team of surgeons has extensive training in surgical treatment of sleep apnea. Make your appointment here.