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Snoring Causes Identified

In a study of 40 patients, researchers from Slovenia used CT scan imaging of the head and neck region to identify the structures responsible for snoring.

Based on questionnaires filled out by study participants and their spouses, patients were divided into groups, with 14 nonsnorers, 13 moderately loud snorers, and 13 loud snorers.

The results show that how loudly people snored was directly proportional to the extent of inspiratory pharyngeal narrowing, which was 3.59 on average for nonsnorers, 4.71 on average for moderately loud snorers, and 8.60 for loud snorers.

Findings also suggest that the soft palate is the main structure that causes snoring, as nonsnorers' soft palates measure at 3.5 cm, and snorers' measure at 4.0 cm. These findings support Bernoulli's principle, that streaming air is the most important factor in the pathophysiology of snoring.

Body mass index and age were also both higher in those who snored. Although 24 patients were found to have obstructive and/or subjective nasal breathing impairment, these impairments were only significant when associated with the loud snoring group, which implies that obstacles in the nose are not responsible for snoring but may amplify the loudness.

The study appears in the August issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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