Snoring Is a Sign Of Airway Obstruction

Snoring is more than just an annoyance.  It is an indication of the onset or existence of some type of airway obstruction.  This means that the airway of those who snore is partially blocked during sleep.  This blockage causes the airflow to speed up much like putting your thumb over the end of a garden hose.  The water comes out at a higher speed.

As a person falls asleep, the tissues of the back of the throat and the tongue relax.  These relaxed tissues narrow the airway which causes the air to travel faster which in turn causes the tissue in the back of the throat to vibrate as air passes over them, making the snoring sound.  The soft palate acts somewhat like an airplane wing--the faster the air goes over the wing, lift (a vacuum) is created and the wing lifts up.  The tissue in the back of the throat starts to flap.

Click on the red tab above that says "Sleep Apnea" to watch video footage of the cause of snoring.

If allowed to continue, the repetitive vibration will cause the tissue to become inflamed and swell, further obstructing an already reduced opening and speeding up the air more.  Therefore, the smaller the opening, the faster the air, and the more the vibrations.  Most of the time, the noise is at the level of a chainsaw!

The vibration of snoring can contribute to other serious problems in the arteries of the neck that carry blood to the brain.  The walls of these arteries thicken and accumulate plaque which can break off due to the turbulence and head straight to the brain resulting in a stroke.  Snoring should not be ignored; it is one of the main signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and OSA will take an average of 8-10 years off your life.

Snoring & OSA FAQ:

Who has Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is characterized by airway obstruction.  90% of those with OSA are currently undiagnosed--it could be you.  It is often found in children as well.  If a person snores and has daytime tiredness, they have OSA.

Do you have to have an overnight study in the sleep lab?
Not necessarily.  Your insurance/Medicare benefits may require one.   You may only need a home sleep test.  A free consultation with our office (844) 847-6673 can help determine which you need.

Will an oral device help with snoring?
Oral devices have been used since the early 1980’s for patients with snoring and sleep apnea. The oral device will reduce the snoring to a point that it is tolerable for the bed partner and it may eliminate the snoring completely.