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Snoring is the noisy result when air flowing through the nose and mouth gets blocked during sleep. The obstruction is relaxed tissue, and the narrower the passageway the blockage creates, the louder the vibration the sleeper makes while trying to get air.
About half of adults snore, mostly with no ill effects. However, a condition called obstructive sleep apnea can cause chronic snoring, which disturbs the sleep of the snorer and anyone in earshot. People with apnea suffer such blocked passages that they wake up repeatedly throughout the night to gasp for air without realizing it. Sleep apnea can result in daytime drowsiness. Over the long haul, it can cause cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension, stroke and an enlarged heart, because the heart must work overtime to maintain oxygen levels. People who are overweight and who drink alcohol are more prone to apnea.