Snoring occurs when the airway is partially blocked which leads to the uvula vibrating. This can arise when the muscles in the back of the mouth, tongue and throat relax while sleeping – causing the narrowing/blocking of the airway and the vibration of the uvula. Certain nose and throat conditions can also contribute to snoring such as swollen, infected, or “kissing” tonsils. When a person’s tonsils are enlarged, infected or touching they can partially block the airway, which leads to the uvula vibrating and snoring occurring. If a patient’s nasal passages are blocked, or they have a deviated septum this could cause, again, a narrowing of the airway leading to the uvula vibrating and snoring occurring.
Snoring can also be a sign of a more serious problem, known as obstructive sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, the relaxed muscles at the back of the throat cause the throat to close, which stops breathing, typically from 20 seconds to up to three minutes. Most sleep apnea sufferers experience this cycle of snoring and waking up 5 or more times a night. Complications of sleep apnea include high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, and more.
Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a physical examination. In many cases, a sleep test will be recommended at a sleep laboratory to determine the exact cause and severity of the sleep apnea.
The doctors at Metro ENT can provide you with a treatment plan for how to alleviate sleep apnea.
If you feel that any of the above conditions could apply to you we encourage you to make an appointment with us. We can be reached at 1-718-805-9500.