Wrong! Studies regarding snoring and the links to your health have proven that the annoying noise can be affecting not only your health, but your partner’s health as well. This topic has such a significant impact on the health of over 50% of the population, that I will spend the next several articles discussing causes, risks, complications and treatments of snoring.
Snoring is noise produced during sleep as air passes through the throat and causes the soft tissues to vibrate. Men, women and children snore although it occurs more frequently in men and people who are overweight. Occasional snoring is usually not very serious and is mostly an annoyance to your sleep partner. However, if you are a habitual snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep quality of those close to you, but you may be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Fifty percent of snorers have OSA.
Heavy snorers have a significantly higher risk of carotid atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits, which increases your risk of stroke. The risk of stroke doubles in men with mild sleep apnea and triples in men with moderate to severe sleep apnea. Sleep disordered breathing can increase stroke risk by lending to or worsening hypertension and heart disease and possibly causing reductions in cerebral blood flow.
Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the nose and mouth is obstructed. Air flow can be obstructed by a combination of factors such as swollen or deviated nasal passages, narrowing of the air passage behind the throat, weight gain in the neck, large tongue or tonsils. People who have GERD (heartburn) can also have inflamed swollen throats which restrict the air flow.
Have you been told you stop breathing during sleep? Do you experience daytime sleepiness? Do you have high blood pressure? This could put you at risk for a stroke. People with OSA are twice as likely to have fatal heart attacks, arrhythmias, GERD, even accidents that injure themselves or others from daytime sleepiness.
Snoring is more than an embarrassing side effect of sleep, and should not be ignored. If you or a loved one snores, they may be at risk of OSA. If you are not sure, snoring could be a wake-up call to discuss with your doctor. Visit us at our Sidney office and we will perform a simple screening test that measures your oxygen levels and pulse during the night. We can help determine if you need a study conducted at a sleep lab to determine if you have OSA.
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