Snoring may be a sign of a more serious medical condition known as sleep apnea, just like headaches may be a sign of a more serious medical condition known as hypertension, or high blood pressure. If you went to your primary care doctor complaining of headaches, he/she would check your blood pressure. But not everyone with a headache has high blood pressure, and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
So, basically there are two types of snoring. The first is cosmetic snoring, which is noise that other people find objectionable. The second is sleep apnea, where your breathing actually stops intermittently during the night.
Both types of snoring can be caused, or made worse, by a narrowing of the nose or throat. A careful examination of the airway by an otolaryngologist can help determine the cause of the snoring. Some of the possible causes of nose narrowing include a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, allergies, and chronic rhinitis. In the throat, a floppy soft palate, enlarged tonsils or large tongue could also be the cause of the obstruction.
A careful history and physical examination should be obtained to arrive at an accurate diagnosis, so that the appropriate treatment options can be considered.