Snoring is more than just an annoyance; it is an indication of the potential onset or existence of some type of airway obstruction. Snoring occurs during sleep when the soft tissue at the back of the throat and the uvula relax, causing the airway to narrow.
The sound associated with snoring is a result of forcing air to move through the narrowed passage which causes the soft tissues to vibrate against each other. If allowed to continue, the repetitive vibration will cause the tissue to grow and swell, further obstructing an already compromised opening.
The vibration of snoring can contribute to other serious vascular problems such as blockages in the arteries of the neck that carry blood to the brain. Snoring that is not caused by sleep apnea is not a serious health risk, unless it results in sleep disorders of a sleep partner, but snoring should not be ignored. Approximately as many as 40 percent of adults snore and although the majority of snorers are men, about 24 percent are women.