Snoring and Sleep Apnea While it is not the only cause of snoring, sleep apnea is by far the most severe condition that causes the often loud and abrasive breathing sounds during sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the brief but frequent cessation of breathing due to the partial collapse of the air passage in the throat. When the breathing process resumes, it usually causes a higher vibration in the vocal chords creating the snoring noise. Sleep apnea is a more severe condition than just caused by a narrowed air passage pulled close by soft tissues of the throat. Called central sleep centers controlling the breathing process become Risk factors of sleep apnea include: Being overweight Having a thicker neck circumference Having high blood pressure Being over 65 years old Having a family history of sleep apnea Smoking the snoring and is gravity affecting the apnea, the actual brain imbalanced. Males are more likely to develop central sleep apnea and so are people with heart disorders like atrial fibrillation. With the decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide levels in the blood the condition causes lapse in the breathing although other systems like heartbeat and circulation remain normal. As the brain gets less oxygen laden blood passing through, the imbalance can become greater and has on occasion resulted in death. While snoring due to gravitational pull can be treated with such non invasive devices as anti snoring pillows and shunts that pull the air passages wider, central sleep apnea must be dealt with more aggressively. Lifestyle changes are required to minimize the conditions that propagate sleep apnea. A major overhaul of any drugs taken must be established and any relaxant drugs must be eliminated or switched to other processes. Weight loss programs are needed for those who may be overweight and the consumption of cigarettes or alcohol must be stopped. It is known that overweight people are considerably more prone to sleep apnea so this should be one of your first points of action. While there are surgical methods to attempt relieving the problems, they are not recommended except in extreme cases as the scarring from surgery can create greater blockages than the original problem. If the use of the external devices does not help the snoring caused by sleep apnea then an evaluation by a professional medical practitioner is needed to discover any underlying medical conditions that may be exacerbating the situation.