Snoring can be Serious: Don’t Risk your Health

snoring-health-risksEveryone knows that snoring can be annoying but it is not something that should be ignored. What seems annoying can actually be an early warning signal. If your bed partner is keeping you awake at night don’t simply put a pillow over your head (or theirs) and hope for the best. That night time noise could be telling you something important.

Don’t risk your health.

If you are a person that snores and know that your snoring is a nightly event there could be serious underlying health conditions that are either causing you to snore or are being made worse by regular snoring.  If you find that you are tired during the day, no matter how many hours you slept the night before then, make an appointment with your family doctor. You need to find out more about your snoring and how it could be affecting your overall health.

Lack of oxygen can lead to serious health issues.

For those people who are described as chronic snorers the risk of more serious medical problems like sleep apnea becomes an issue. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when breathing stops and starts frequently throughout one’s sleep.

When left untreated the apnea will potentially worsen, with breathing patterns being interrupted on a continual basis throughout the night. When this happens the brain and the body are threatened due to the deprival of oxygen. Sleep apnea left untreated and without proper medical management can lead to other equally serious medical problems like high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, heart failure, diabetes and depression.

Risk of heart attack and snoring

Research into the effects of snoring on health is currently ongoing. Recently in the United States, a Henry Ford Health System research team headed by Dr. Robert Deeb, conducted a study of 54 patients who snore. None of this group of patients, aged 18 -50, had a diagnosed sleep apnea disorder.

Each participant underwent an ultrasound of the two carotid arteries. Dr. Deeb and his team found that the carotid arteries of the snoring group studied were significantly thicker than those of a similarly aged group of non-snorers.

To understand what this means we first need to know a bit more about the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels that supply your brain with the oxygenated blood supply needed for proper function.

Thickening of these blood vessels is known to be associated with a condition called hardening of the arteries. This condition is a major contributing factor in a number of different serious health issues including the enlarging of the heart that often leads to heart attack.

The findings of this study, has a potential impact for all snorers; not just snorers that have been diagnosed with one of the sleep apneas. While more research needs to be undertaken to confirm these findings it is safe to say that the “writing is on the wall” for all habitual snorers.

We’ve known for a long time about the link between heart disease and sleep apnea but now it appears that just plain old snoring can be an indicator of the presence of heart disease now or; it can herald the possibility of heart disease developing in the future.

High blood pressure and risk of stroke

Getting regular exercise, cutting back on salt intake and treatment with medication can handle a high blood pressure problem for many people. Unfortunately taking these measures doesn’t work for others. People who snore and are diagnosed with a sleep apnea disorder often find they are more able to control their high blood pressure problem after treatment for their sleep apnea begins.

Even though the connection between high blood pressure and snoring isn’t fully understood, it is well known that uncontrolled hypertension can, and often does, lead to stroke. The research that links the thickening of carotid arteries with snoring definitely has repercussions when it comes to considering hypertension. Lower amounts of oxygen getting to the brain will more than likely eventually mean higher stroke risk.

Often people with high blood pressure experience no symptoms. That’s why this disease is known as the “silent killer”. You can probably get your blood pressure checked for free at your local pharmacy. Blood pressure cuffs are also sold across the counter and taking your own blood pressure isn’t really difficult. Keeping tabs on your blood pressure could save your life.

Snoring and mood swings

While the link between snoring and depression isn’t proven what we do know is that the chronic daytime sleepiness reported by heavy snorers and those with diagnosed sleep disorders does affect mood. It can cause mood swings which affect home-life and performance at work. Many people who were once snorers have found relief through treatment. They also report a general improvement of their outlook on life as snoring improves and night time sleep regulates.

Snoring and diabetes

There appears to be a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and type 2 Diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA it’s nine times more likely that you also have type 2 Diabetes. If you have diabetes and you know you snore then it might be wise to mention your snoring the next time you visit your doctor.

The low energy associated with OSA can also mean that your blood sugar levels are too high. If you have obstructive sleep apnea then getting proper treatment will likely be an important component of managing your diabetes as well.

Find a treatment for your habitual snoring

Everyone snores occasionally. Sometimes a passing cold can have you sounding like a train chugging along, and if this is the case you probably have nothing to worry about. The greater concern is for the habitual snorer who is snoring every night. There could be serious health issues in the making. Don’t put off seeing your doctor if this describes you.  Today, there are a number of effective snoring treatments available. By getting treatment you could literally be saving your life.