According to ENT experts, the best way to know when to visit a specialist is to understand the risk factors. Chronic snoring is mainly caused by factors that affect airflow through the relaxed throat tissues. The risk factors can worsen your condition if you do not seek medical attention. Read on to discover critical issues to watch out for.
1. Body Weight
While various myths exist regarding snoring, body weight is not one. Typically, you will have extra fat tissue around your neck if you are obese. Therefore, when you lie down to sleep, the excess fat around your neck compresses the upper airway, leading to snoring.
The direct compression of the airway makes breathing laborious and increases tissue vibrations that lead to louder noises. The significance of body weight explains why ENT specialists record patients’ neck sizes when they evaluate snoring-related risks. Ultimately, you are predisposed to snoring and the associated medical conditions if you are overweight.
2. Alcohol Consumption
The occasional wine before bed is okay if you are a non-snorer. However, you are at a higher risk of becoming a chronic snorer if you have an alcohol use disorder. The reason is that excessive alcohol consumption contributes to respiratory depression. The condition leads to the gradual relaxation of throat muscles and subsequent collapse of the oropharynx walls.
Over time, respiratory depression can cause severe sleep issues even if you are not a snorer. Therefore, you should avoid alcohol consumption if you are an occasional snorer. If you do not snore, only consume alcohol several hours before bedtime. Alternatively, you can drink a small amount before going to bed.
3. Family History
Are you at risk of becoming a snorer if you come from a family of snorers? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding yes. Studies show that snoring is linked to genetics. Therefore, if your grandfather and father are snorers, you will likely start snoring at some point. You can inherit a snoring gene pool as you do with physical attributes, such as hair and eye color.
For example, if either of your parents is a snorer, you likely share a gene pool of physical traits that facilitate snoring, such as a narrow throat, soft palate, or receded chin. Fortunately, an ENT specialist can order a blood test as an additional tool to screen for obstructive sleep conditions. The screening helps establish your predisposition to snoring as early as possible.
Does your gender influence your risk of chronic snoring? The simple answer is yes, and studies show that twice as many men snore than women. However, the statistics do not mean that snoring is a male problem because millions of women suffer from the issue. The difference is that men are at a higher risk of chronic snoring than women.
The airway anatomy is a crucial factor that makes men more prone to snoring. Anatomically, men have more soft tissues around their airways thanks to a larger cross-sectional area. More soft tissues cause louder noises as they vibrate during sleep. Furthermore, men deposit fat in regions that can cause snoring, such as the neck and chest, whereas women gain fat around their thighs and hips.
If you are predisposed to snoring, contact us at GNO Snoring & Sinus immediately. Our team of ENT specialists and state-of-the-art facility can help ascertain your risk level and treat snoring and sleep disorders.