Snoring, of course, is the most prominent symptom of sleep apnea. I want to make it clear, however, that snoring and OSA are not synonymous. While virtually all OSA patients snore— long and loud—not everyone who snores has a clinically significant OSA problem.
People who snore have been the targets of humor, and anger, for centuries. And no wonder: The Guinness Book of World Records has clocked the loudest snore at 87.5 decibels—equivalent to the noise of a bus’s diesel engine heard from the rear seat or the sound of a pneumatic drill as it breaks up concrete. Not infrequently snoring is cited as one reason a married couple seeks a divorce.
Among people aged thirty to thirty-five, 20 percent of men but only 5 percent of women snore. As age increases, however, so does the incidence of snoring. Half of the population over the age. of forty snores. Most of this group is still men, but by age sixty the split is closer to 60-40. By age sixty-five the division is roughly even, with as many as 6 to 7 million elderly Americans snoring away through the night. Science has proposed no sound theory (excuse the pun) to explain why there is a difference in the incidence of snoring between younger men and women.
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