What Causes Snoring?

By Dr. Andrew Parker
February 10, 2016
Category: Snoring
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

Occasional bouts of snoring can happen to anyone and are completely normal. A blocked nasal passage due to a sleep apneacold, or even a night out on the town with one too many drinks can make for a noisy night's sleep from time to time. However chronic snoring, accompanied by other symptoms during waking hours, is often a sign of a potentially serious health condition known as sleep apnea. Dr. Andrew Parker, your ENT doctor at Parker Ear Nose & Throat of Fairfield County in Norwalk and Westport, CT, is here to tell you more about this condition.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Loud snoring induced by sleep apnea occurs when a person repeatedly stops breathing for short periods of time throughout the sleep cycle. While many people with sleep apnea may be unaware their breathing is being interrupted, feeling tired and exhausted during the day in spite of getting enough sleep is a common symptom of the condition.

Although the pause in breathing may only last for seconds at a time, if left untreated, sleep apnea can result in serious health risks and complications. There are three main causes for snoring:

  • Central sleep apnea - when the brain's signals to the muscles that regulate breathing during sleep are interrupted.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea - when the throat muscles that control breathing involuntarily relax (this is the most common form of sleep apnea and snoring).
  • Complex sleep apnea - a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Most people are initially unaware that their breathing is being interrupted throughout the night unless it is witnessed by another person. Some of the symptoms associated with the condition include:

  • Waking up abruptly in the middle of the night and feeling short of breath
  • Waking up with sore throat or dry mouth
  • Unexplained headaches and irritability
  • Trouble focusing
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness throughout the day)

Treatment for Snoring in Norwalk and Westport

Excessive snoring related to sleep apnea is treated by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Your doctor in Norwalk and Westport offers several treatment options, depending on the severity and cause of the snoring. If left untreated, regular snoring can lead to stress and problems with relationships, as well as potentially serious health risks including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist in Norwalk and Westport

If you are suffering from chronic snoring and experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, contact Dr. Andrew Parker at Parker Ear, Nose & Throat in Norwalk and Westport, CT at 203-866-8121 to schedule an exam and to learn more about effective treatment options.