as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's Behind The Snore? Sagging, Floppy Tissue

If you're kept awake at night by someone who snores, you're not alone. And, snoring becomes more common as we age — by age 60, more than half of adults snore. The log-sawing vibrations are often the result of air trying to move through narrowed or floppy, soft passages in the mouth, throat and nose. Other times, the air is obstructed by anatomical abnormalities, such as over-sized tonsils or uvula — that boxing-bag like thing that hangs in the back of the throat.

"I hear these stories every day," says Sonya Malekzadeh, an ear, nose and throat doctor at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Lots of patients come into her office at the urging of their partners. They report being "kicked out" of their bedrooms for their loud snoring. Many men don't even realize they're doing it, Malekzadeh says. And, yes, men are twice as likely as women to snore. "The reason men are affected more than women is likely due to fat distribution. When men gain weight, it is usually in the neck, upper torso and abdomen," she says. "On the other hand, women usually gain weight in the hips and thighs."

Ever wondered if Richard Knox and Joe Palca snore? Or what their snores would sound like? Fat in the neck area can constrict airway passages and lead to increased snoring. And, as we age, the soft tissue inside the mouth and palate can sag, just as wrinkles develop with aging skin.

-excerpt from NPR

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