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Why Does Snoring Get Worse with Age?

As we get older, our biology changes. Our hair thins and grays, our skin starts to loosen and spot, and muscles get sore, fast. But these aren’t the only changes that require attention. As we get older, we also start snoring louder and more frequently.

Although an increased level of snoring can be associated with certain medical issues, it is not necessarily anything to worry about. Increased snoring could be a natural reaction of our aging biology and/or daily routines, and can be combated with many anti-snoring devices.

Aging Muscles

According to sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a few key factors are involved in understanding why people tend to snore more as they age.

For example, muscle mass detonation is a byproduct of aging. Consequently, the muscles in the repertory tract that regulate snoring patterns also age. Since the vibration of certain tissues in the human palate is what causes snoring,  an increase is fat around those muscles causes more vibrations.

Alcohol may also contribute to more snoring because alcohol works like a muscle relaxant. Alcohol indulgence often increases with age, and snoring problems increase with increased alcohol consumption.

Another reason snoring gets worse with age is medications they take. For instance, sleeping medications are also muscle relaxants. So, sleep medications complicate snoring problems the same way alcohol does: by relaxing the muscles in the respiratory system.

Finally, variations in hormone levels can contribute to increased snoring. Reduced estrogen levels, for example, contributes to softer muscle mass. Therefore, the muscle mass in the upper respiratory tract is also reduced. The reduced muscle mass, in return, contributes to more vibrations.

So, while it may seem like snoring is related to breathing in some way, it quickly becomes evident that snoring is a throat (or more specifically, muscle) issue that, as a result, causes breathing issues.

Gaining Weight

Gaining weight can increase snoring. Often, our muscles aren’t the only thing that fades as we age. Our stamina fades as well. A decreased desire to be physically active can lead to weight gain. Since increasing the neck’s mass narrows the throat’s airways, snoring also increases.

Weight gain and sleep apnea are also connected. Since sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep, the result is more fatigue during the day. Fatigue, in return, can make one less active and therefore more likely to gain weight. This belief is a vicious cycle that can worsen with age.

Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion can be another byproduct of aging. A combination of sinuses, allergens, and bacterial infections can make breathing challenging. As we age, the nasal cavities congest and swell more easily.

Nasal congestion, in and of itself, does not cause snoring. But, nasal congestion can cause mouth breathing which, in turn, contributes to increased snoring levels by creating negative pressure on the uvula and soft palate areas.

However, some allergies can cause nasal congestion that sounds like snoring. Allergic Rhinitis, for instance, is an allergy that causes sinus inflammation.

Also, nasal polyps can contribute to nasal snoring. Polyps are physiological abnormalities or noncancerous growths. Nasal polyps are those growths found in the nasal cavity.

As we age, our genetic structure deteriorates which can result in polyp abnormality development. If this happens in the nasal cavity, it may create or complicate nasal snoring issues because of airway blockage.

Many of these nasal congestions can be alleviated by using a nasal dilator to help open the nasal cavity.

Medical Issues

Furthermore, both asthma and eczema are connected to snoring. Asthma, also known as reactive airway disease, constricts airflow. Eczema allergic reactions can also inflame nostrils and cause snoring issues.

Both are medical issues and are related to nasal based snoring. Some allergic reactions get better with age, and some get worse. There are many factors, including personal lifestyle choices and environmental awareness, that can alter the intensity of allergic reactions with age.

Unlike some of the lifestyle choices that can complicate snoring issues, like those listed above, sleep apnea cannot be controlled alone by lifestyle changes. If you have not been tested for sleep apnea, remember that sleep apnea is a medical issue that should be handled by a doctor.

Mark Walton
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