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Snoring (cont.)

What Increases Your Risk

Factors that may increase your risk of snoring include:

  • Being male. Men are more likely to snore than women.
  • Age. Snoring is most common in middle-aged people.
  • Heredity. Snoring may run in families.
  • Weight gain and obesity.
  • Smoking. Exposing children to tobacco smoke may also increase their risk of snoring.
  • Use of alcohol or sedative medicines.
  • Chronic nasal congestion during sleep. This is often caused by colds or allergies.
  • Jaw abnormalities, such as a small chin and overbite (class II malocclusionClick here to see an illustration.—the upper jaw and teeth overlap the bottom jaw and teeth). This may be an especially important factor in women.

When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if you or your bed partner:

  • Snores loudly and heavily.
  • Snores and feels sleepy during the day.
  • Snores and falls asleep at inappropriate times, such as when talking or while eating.
  • Stops breathing, gasps, or chokes during sleep.

Snoring is the main symptom of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which you periodically stop breathing during sleep. For more information, see the topic Sleep Apnea.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. Watchful waiting may be appropriate if your snoring does not disturb your bed partner or if you are not overly sleepy during the day. If home treatment does not help your snoring, contact your doctor.

Watchful waiting may not be appropriate if you or your sleeping partner snores loudly and heavily, is restless during sleep, is sleepy during the day, or stops breathing when sleeping. These may point to sleep apnea. Contact your doctor.

Who to See

Health professionals who can treat snoring include:

If sleep apnea is suspected, a doctor who specializes in treating sleep disorders (often a neurologist or pulmonologist) can help set up tests to diagnose sleep apnea. If your doctor recommends an oral breathing device, you may be referred to a dentist.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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