Snoring is a worldwide phenomenon with estimates of over one billion people who snore due to some sort of nasal or airway blockage. Conservative estimates indicate that the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom represent over 70 million snorers alone.
Research into the problems of snoring has in recent years made important findings and yielded to the evidence of significant problems with snoring. Findings suggest that by their early thirties, twenty percent of men snore as compared to only five percent of women. Findings indicate a dramatic increase as men and women reach their sixties indicating that sixty percent of men and forty percent of women snore.
There are obvious differences in the percentages of men and women that snore. The reason for the difference involves the size of a person’s neck, typically an effect of being overweight. Men tend to have larger necks than women do, and having a neck of 17 inches or larger makes it likely a person will snore. Surveys indicate that 80 percent of men that snore do not consider themselves to have a problem and in fact consider their spouses to be light sleepers.
Women that snore tend to be heavier and shorter than women that do not snore are. Women typically snore through their noses whereas men snore through their noses and mouths. Women are also more likely than men are to seek treatment for snoring. Women typically snore less than men due to smaller necks and larger air passages. Women also have a smaller uvula that makes them less likely to snore.
Snorers do not usually notice their own snoring and are unaware unless it is pointed out for them. Snorers also tend to be deep, comfortable sleepers. Tonsil and adenoid problems can be major contributors to the snoring of children, though studies indicate that as few as six percent of all children snore.
There is concern that the medical community does not take the area of snoring serious enough. General practitioners typically do not ask patients about their sleep. Studies indicate that of the 70 percent of patients that mention sleep problems to their doctors, only about ten percent of them attempt to seek further help. Dentists who fit patients with snoring devices do not routinely ask patients about sleeping problems.
The problem of snoring and related sleep disorders is not widely known to the medical community or the public. Both require education on the subject to orient them to this significant problem. Snoring is often considered the first sign of a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is the most significant problem of those who snore. It is a potential danger for the person and those around them as sleep disorders represent a significant cause of vehicle accidents. Of those suffering from sleep apnea, 70 percent report having been in at least one car accident. Recent studies indicate that more vehicle accidents are caused by sleep disorders than by drunk driving.