Do I snore because I’m fat?

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Have you been the center of ridicule of family and friends because you snore and you carry a few pounds of extra flesh? Yes, those extra pounds might be the reason why you snore, although they may not be the only reason why you do so.

Snoring is basically the sound made by the air turbulence at the back of the throat. The turbulence is caused due to the narrowness of the air passage and the narrowness can be caused due to excess weight. While most people think it is harmless, if not checked and treated on time, it can lead to serious diseases like heart failure or stroke. When a person snores, he is not being able to breathe properly. Due to the lack of oxygen entering the body, often several medical conditions arise. The sound is actually the sound of someone having a difficult time while breathing. Non-medically, snoring can affect intimate relationships.

Statistically, more than 30% of the world population are obese with a BMI of 30 or more. Excess weight has many effects on your body, one of them being snoring. You might feel that the excess weight is stored in one or two areas of the body. However, body processes fat in such a way that the excess weight is spread out evenly all over the body. When the extra fat is deposited around the throat and neck, the air passage of the body can be narrowed, leading to air turbulence in the throat which leads a person to snore.

Now, when it comes to snoring and excess fat, it is a catch 22 situation. People snore because there is excess fat in the throat. Then again, because of the snoring, oxygen cannot enter the body, leading to lower metabolism rate and thus weight gain. Moreover, as one gains weight, the fat tissues displace the muscle tissue and you tend to lose muscle tone. Due to this, the soft palate and the soft tissues inside the throat become floppy which in turn increases the discomfort in breathing.

There is a much graver issue that might happen. Overweight people are more susceptible to developing sleep apnea, a serious medical condition where people stop breathing at regular intervals while sleeping. In sleep apnea, due to a sudden stoppage of breathing, the brain is aroused from sleep as a result of which, you wake up suddenly. Statistics show that in sleep apnea, breathing can stop up to 10 seconds at a time and this can happen up to 100 times each night. This can not only make you feel exhausted, it can also lead to several heart diseases.

Weight and snoring are closely linked. Hence, if you are overweight and you snore, I would definitely suggest you start a weight loss regime as soon as possible to stop snoring.

Originally published at on May 19, 2017.