Snoring is a common occurrence among older adults. While it seems like a harmless, albeit annoying occurrence, it can often be a symptom that indicates a much larger problem in your body. You become more likely to snore more often as you age, making it important to learn about the correlation between aging and snoring.
What Causes Snoring?
Despite how common snoring is, most people don’t know what causes snoring. Many of those who snore constantly don’t even know the cause of their snoring in the first place.
The action of snoring is usually caused by your airway being restricted, which could be due to various possible reasons. This causes the tissues in your mouth (soft palate, tonsils, adenoids, tongue) to vibrate, letting out the oh-so-familiar rumbling sound of a snore. Numerous conditions lead to blocked airflow, including:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
- A sleeping posture that narrows the airway
- Nasal congestion, which can be due to allergies or a cold
- A large tongue
Not only can snoring be a nuisance or an embarrassment when sleeping in the same bed as a loved one, but chronic snoring can also indicate an underlying health issue:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
One sleep disorder snoring can imply is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your throat muscles relax, blocking your airway. This causes not just snoring, but also difficulties in breathing in your sleep. This blockage of your airflow can alert your body to awaken, suddenly disturbing you from your slumber. This disrupts any restful sleep you get, and multiple times a night at that.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Frequent sleepiness in the daytime
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Experiencing a dry mouth, headache, or sore throat in the morning after waking up
Other variations of this condition exist as well, such as central sleep apnea (CSA). This condition, while due to a different cause, leads to the same blocked airflow and rude awakenings. Furthermore, it’s possible to have both conditions at the same time, causing a patient to have complex sleep apnea syndrome.
How Do You Cure Snoring?
There are both surgical and non-surgical methods of treating chronic snoring for those trying to improve their sleep health. Non-surgical methods involve making lifestyle changes that can improve your airflow. Such actions include quitting smoking, losing weight, increasing the amount of exercise you have, and changing your sleeping posture. If your snoring problem is rooted in nasal congestion, you can take medications or use nasal strips as a quick remedy.
For more serious cases of snoring or sleep disorders that cause snoring, you can opt for a minimally invasive surgical treatment. There are various options to consider, so do consult with your doctor to understand which procedure suits your needs best.
Pursue Your Health Goals at GreenTree At Westwood!
Sleep is just one way of becoming more involved with your health as an older adult. Our retirement community at GreenTree At Westwood’s Dimensions Health and Fitness senior living program ensures that every aspect of your health doesn’t go neglected!