Snoring is the second largest complaint of people seeking treatment for sleep related issues. It is not necessarily a result of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), but it is an indication that the airway is narrow and collapsible. Not all snorers have OSA but virtually all patients with OSA snore. It is a conservative estimate that 40% of adults snore and that 90% of patients with sleep apnea go undiagnosed. Snoring is a symptom of the soft tissues in the pharynx are collapsing and vibrating as air passes through the airway.
Factors which contribute to snoring/sleep apnea are increased age, gender, alcohol, anatomic abnormalities and enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Older patients typically gain weight and lose muscle tone. These changes can easily affect the patency of a relaxed airway. Males are 2.5 times as likely to have OSA and sedatives like alcohol relax muscle tone and contribute to a collapsing airway. Enlarged soft tissues like adenoids, tonsils, tongue and uvula can also serve to block the airway.