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Body Language: Are These Sounds and Signals a Problem?

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Your stomach growls, your knees creak, you snore like a freight train. Are these everyday quirks and sounds, or is there a larger health issue?


A body can make a lot of noise -- not all of it a sign of good health. Find out what to ignore and what to explore with your doctor.

What's Normal

As annoying as it may be to your bedmate, snoring isn't a problem, even if you sound like a locomotive. The racket starts when your throat muscles relax and excess tissue in the back of your mouth collapses, partially blocking the upper airway. This forces you to inhale more deeply and makes the tissue vibrate. Sleeping on your side can help by shifting the tissue.

What's Not

Your bedmate says you're gasping and snoring, a condition that causes the oxygen level in your blood to drop. If you do this 10 or more times in an hour, or if you feel tired no matter how much sleep you get, you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, says Suman Golla, MD, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. See your doctor, who will order a sleep study (a test in which your rest is electronically monitored) or refer you to a specialist.

Next:  Hiccups


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