How Snoring Affects your Health

For most of us, snoring is nothing foreign. In fact, it is something we’ve learned to downplay and even joke about. Snoring can be a severe problem for both the snorer as well as their partner. Sharing a home or bed with a snorer can be pretty frustrating as snoring can interrupt both your sleep quantity and quality. And if you are the snorer, you have to endure the shame and ridicule that comes with snoring. 

snoring and health

Snoring can put a damper on your relationships, affect your performance at work and even put you at risk of motor accidents. Even more worrying is that snoring can lead to dire health implications.

Chronic snoring can sometimes be a symptom of OSA, a severe medical condition requiring medical attention.

10 illnesses linked to snoring and sleep apnea that you should watch out for

1) Sleep Apnea 

Gasping, choking, and interrupted breathing that sometimes comes with snoring has to be the scariest side effect of snoring. Witnessed paused breathing that lasts more than 10 seconds and occurs multiple times in one night is the number one sign that you have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is unpleasant. It disrupts your sleep and can have severe effects on your health. If you have that nagging feeling that your snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, please visit your doctor ASAP for treatment. Using CPAP is one of the effective ways to treat sleep apnea.

2) Excess Weight 

Various studies show that about 50% of obese people suffer from sleep apnea. This is mainly caused by the fat accumulated around the neck, making it harder for air to flow freely during sleep. Luckily, losing weight can reduce snoring and symptoms of other sleep disorders. Consult a sleep specialist about ways to shed the extra weight off healthily.

3) Heart Disease 

Excessive snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea, which is linked to various cardiovascular problems, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, etc. These problems can lead to possible heart attacks. Data from multiple health studies suggest that the risk of suffering nonfatal heart disease events and fatal heart attacks is twice as high for people with sleep apnea. Seeking treatment as soon as you detect this sleep disorder is vital: using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat sleep apnea is an effective way of reducing your risk of heart disease.

4) Stroke

Intense snoring has been linked to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries in the neck narrow due to fatty deposits called plaque resulting in a stroke. This means the louder and longer you snore every night, the higher the long-term risk for getting a stroke. You can minimize this risk by seeking medical help for snoring, especially if you have daytime sleepiness and witnessed paused breathing during sleep, some of the more notable symptoms of sleep apnea. Other health concerns that should prompt you to see a doctor if you are a snorer include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

5) Arrhythmias

Do you suffer from chronic snoring or sleep apnea? Then your likelihood of developing arrhythmia is heightened. Arrhythmia is a disorder that causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm. Research has it that people who suffer from sleep apnea are more at risk of having episodes of atrial fibrillation, the number one type of arrhythmia, compared to people without it. OSA may affect the heart’s conductive system, or it might cause the left atrium to enlarge over a long period. Treat your sleep apnea with CPAP to reduce your risk of developing arrhythmia.

6) Nocturia

Nocturia is a condition that leads to waking up twice or more times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. While this is due to loss of bladder control for most people, it is also linked with snoring in both men and women. Most men aged 55 and above who wake up to urinate multiple times during the night have been found to be suffering from benign prostate enlargement and obstructive sleep apnea. 

7) GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a digestive disorder where bile (stomach acid) irritates the food lining. It is prevalent in people with sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, your throat closes in a somewhat disordered way as air flows in and out, resulting in pressure changes that can suck the contents of your stomach back up into the esophagus. Obesity is a trigger for GERD and sleep apnea. Shedding the extra weight is a great way to treat GERD.

If losing weight does not ease your GERD, consult your doctor on other possible treatments.

8) Mental health issues

Snoring impacts our mental health too. Studies show that lack of proper and adequate sleep can increase your likelihood of having depression and anxiety. Snoring messes with both the quality and quantity of sleep, leading to poor mental health. Determine the cause of your snoring and treat it accordingly to ensure you enjoy restful nights and excellent mental health.

9) Chronic Headaches

If you have been waking up with a headache in the morning more often than usual (and it’s not because you have been having one too many drinks before bed), then chronic you may be a snorer. Let’s face it, not being able to get a restful night’s sleep night after night is enough to get anyone stressed, which can easily cause headaches. However, sometimes headaches in the morning might be caused by hypertension or inconsistent oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Seek medical advice to be able to treat the actual cause of your headaches.

10) Fetal Complications

A lot of pregnant women snore during the last trimester of pregnancy, usually due to weight gain. While this snoring is typical in that stage of pregnancy, it poses an increased risk for fetal complications. The connection between snoring and fetal complication is yet to be established. If you are pregnant and snore loudly during sleep, you should talk to your family doctor or ob-gyn about how to reduce the snoring to alleviate the dangers it may pose to your unborn baby.

Conclusion

Snoring is undoubtedly an unpleasant condition to contend with. Whether you experience one or more of the side effects mentioned above, finding out the cause of your snoring is critical. This way, you can get the necessary treatment so you and your sleep partner can enjoy restful nights once again, and you can safeguard your health. If your snoring is not severe, simple lifestyle changes should help combat snoring. If making lifestyle changes does not help, anti-snore devices or surgery in very severe cases may be good alternatives.

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