Snoring is a sound produced during sleep caused by vibration of the structures inside the throat and narrowing of the breathing passages. The risk of snoring increases with age and any weight gain, and it is more likely among men. However, snoring occurs frequently without any of these risk factors.
If you have loud, disruptive snoring, you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a more serious condition that can have health risks and interfere with your ability to get restful sleep. A key part of successful treatment is a careful, detailed evaluation that is used to determine the cause of snoring and guide treatment.
The test for determining whether someone has snoring alone or obstructive sleep apnea is called a sleep study. Sleep studies can be performed at home or in a sleep laboratory. A sleep study can be helpful in determining the best treatment for you based on what is causing the snoring.
Snoring can be an issue for many reasons. Firstly, it can disrupt the sleep of others, creating social problems. It also can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which has its own consequences. Finally, some studies suggest snoring itself may carry some health risks, although these risks are probably low.