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Snoring: Causes, Complications, Diagnosis and Treatment

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What is Snoring? 

Snoring is a harsh, irritating sound that occurs while sleeping. It is a common type of sleeping disorder, which mostly occurs in men as compared to women. Several factors can cause snoring, and the chances of snoring increase with age. 

According to experts and researchers from the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), 45 per cent of adults snore, and 25 per cent do it regularly. The snoring happens because the flow of the air through relaxed throat tissues causes vibrations. The prolonged history of persistent snoring may be an indicator of some other underlying health condition. 

What are the causes of snoring?

Snoring is caused when your throat airway gets relaxed due to several reasons. Being overweight, your mouth’s anatomy or a cold and allergy symptoms maybe some of the main causes of snoring. Some of the following conditions may also cause snoring:

  • Sleeping Position: Due to gravity’s effect, the snoring can be more noisy and loud because it narrows the nasal airways. Hence, you should avoid sleeping on your back. 
  • Alcohol or drug consumption: Throat muscles get weak with excessive alcohol and drugs. causes disruptive sleep due to snoring.
  • Sleep deprivation

Does snoring indicate another disorder?

Often people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder, snore while sleeping. However, not everyone who snores has  sleep apnea . If you notice any of the following symptoms along with snoring, it is advisable to visit a doctor for further consultation. 

  • Unable to control your sleep during the day
  • Changes in Blood pressure levels  
  • Headaches after sleep
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty concentration 
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
  • Disruptive sleep. 

When to see a doctor?

When you notice any similar symptoms, then it is recommended to consult the doctor as soon as possible. Children can also develop OSA. Enlarged tonsils are often the underlying cause of this. Your child may show hyperactivity, sleepiness, inattentiveness, or other behavioral problems during the daytime, due to lack of sleep. If your child regularly snores, then you should consult the doctor.

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What are the risk factors of snoring?

Certain factors may put you at risk of snoring. These are:

  • Nasal issues : It may be possible that your nose has a congenital disability. This may increase the risk of snoring. 
  • Heredity: If you or anyone in your family has any previous history of snoring, then you may be at a higher risk, and you need to consult the doctor if you see any of the symptoms related to snoring. 
  • Consumption of alcohol: Drinking alcohol causes tissue relaxation in the throat, which causes snoring.
  • Overweight: If you come into the overweight category, then you are at a higher risk of dealing with snoring or sleep apnea issues. 
  • Gender: Snoring is most likely to affect men as compared to women, so they have to make sure to get proper treatment on time. 

What are the complications of snoring?

Snoring is not only just a nuisance or irritation. But, if it is associated with obstructive sleep apnea  then it can also be responsible for other complications and health problems too. Some of them may include the following: 

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue. 
  • Easily frustrated or mood swings. 
  • Difficulty concentrating. 
  • High blood pressure levels
  • Cardiac issues. 
  • Stroke 
  • Prone to accidents or injuries due to lack of proper sleep.
  • Behavioral changes 
  • Hypertension 
  • Relationship conflicts

How can snoring be diagnosed?

If snoring symptoms are   mild to  moderate, then the diagnosis can simply be made by a physical exam. During the physical exam, the doctor will ask you more about the health problems you may face. The doctor will also ask about the symptoms to get a clear view of the problem. 

Sometimes, to get a more precise diagnosis, the doctor will suggest you undergo the following: 

  • Imaging tests: Your doctor will ask you to take imaging tests for identifying the cause and problem. The imaging tests include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans to check if your airway does not have any abnormalities. 
  • Sleep Study: If you are suffering from similar symptoms of snoring for a long time, then the doctor will ask you to take a sleep study. In a sleep study, a detailed analysis of your sleep pattern is noticed. You might have to spend a night in the clinic or sleep center with sensors on your head or body. The report will include the study of brain waves, blood oxygen levels, sleep stages, body movements, and heart rate when you snore. 

How can snoring be treated?

After the diagnosis, your  doctor will provide all the possible solutions on how to stop snoring. The doctor will first find out how severe is the snoring, and what causes snoring. The doctor will ask you to make lifestyle changes in your daily routine, such as:

  • If you are overweight, then you need to lose weight to maintain a healthy body.
  • Avoid alcohol and drug consumption because they are the primary causes of many diseases.
  • Change your sleeping position, and avoid sleeping on the back. 
  • Try to get proper sleep, at least 7-8 hours. 
  • Quit smoking 

The doctor may use other treatments, such as: 

Oral appliances: Oral appliances that usually help the person to fix the position of your tongue, jaw, and teeth. 

CPAP: It is another method to provide a solution for how to stop snoring. The CPAP mask directs the pressurized air into the nose without making the throat relaxed. 

Airway surgery: If the problem is more severe , then the only option left is to treat the upper airway by surgery. There are a variety of methods available in the surgery such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), hypoglossal nerve stimulation, and many more.   

What are the precautions for snoring?

Another way to reduce snoring is to make some lifestyle changes. Maintain your body health and weight according to your height to prevent overweight and obesity. There are some precautions that you need to follow strictly, and these will help you out in how to stop snoring.

  • Try to go to bed at a fixed time
  • Elevate your head for better sleeping positions, and you can use special pillows too. 
  • Try to sleep onto the sides  (right or left side). 
  • Avoid eating or drinking, 2 hours before going to bed
  • Don’t take any stress, be relaxed
  • Treat nasal congestion issues before they get aggravated    


Snoring is a common chronic disorder, but it may become a concern if left untreated. If you have a habit of snoring every day and are concerned about how to stop snoring, you need to follow the home remedies or consult the doctor to begin the treatment process. Before consulting, it will be beneficial if you go through the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatment, and precautions related to how to stop snoring.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do I snore? 

Snoring may occur because of a combination of many factors, such as being overweight, having a blocked nose, sleeping with your mouth open, and more

What are the other causes that make you snore? 

Following conditions can also lead to snoring 

  • High fever 
  • Allergies 
  • Infection 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Small nostrils 
  • Environmental irritants 

How can I make sure to sleep on my side?

Sleeping on one side is highly recommended by doctors for people who snore. So make sure to adopt any of the following: 

  • You can use vibrating gadgets that shake when you sleep on your back for a long time.. 
  • The special pillows will help you to reduce snoring by elevating your head in  one direction only. 

What is CPAP? 

CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” CPAP is beneficial and has outstanding and effective results in treating severe OSA disorder. CPAP is not responsible for continuous supply of oxygen; it establishes a constant airflow to prevent your nose from collapsing.

Verified By Dr Surya Kanta Pradhan
MBBS, MS ( ENT- Head & Neck Surgery), Consultant - Head & Neck Surgery & Rheumatology, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar
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