How Dangerous Is Snoring? The Health Risks And What To Do About It

snoring sleep apnea 1

snoring sleep apnea 1

Snoring is the sound caused by vibrations in the upper airways of the respiratory system due to partial obstructed air movement while sleeping. All too often snoring gets written off as a mere nuisance by your partner, but habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Sure, in many cases snoring can be nothing more than an annoyance for your partner. However, there could also be some serious potential risks connected with frequent snoring.

Five Causes

  • Age. When you begin to age your body naturally begins to relax and lose muscle tone, including the throat and tongue muscles causing the muscles there to relax and fall back into your airways causing obstructions.
  • Weight. If you are overweight you likely have an excess of built-up fatty tissues in your throat, thus causing snoring.
  • Alcohol consumption, smoking, and medications. Alcohol, smoking, and some medications increase muscle relaxation allowing the flesh of the throat to relax and disrupt airflow.
  • Nasal and sinus problems. Seasonal allergies and sinus infections can cause swelling of the nasal passages making breathing difficult and snoring likely.
  • Sleep posture. Sleeping on your back puts you at a higher likelihood of snoring.

Five DYI Treatments

  • Maintain a healthy weight with diet and exercise
  • Cut back on alcohol and smoking
  • Treat allergies
  • Try changing sleeping positions
  • Consider purchasing an anti-snore pillow

Some of the causes of snoring and their effects are relatively benign and can easily be remedied by simple things such as changing your sleeping posture or moderating your alcohol consumption.

The real question is: what if I snore because of sleep apnea? Well, the only real way to confirm is to have a sleep study, a test that records what happens while you sleep. But as a starter, there are some common signs of sleep apnea, experts say.

The three main warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea are:

  • Loud, persistent snoring
  • Pauses in breathing, accompanied with gasping episodes when sleeping
  • Excessive sleepiness during waking hours

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that causes your sleep to be disrupted by pauses of breathing. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments.

If you believe that your or your partner’s snoring could be a potential cause for concern, contact your doctor to be properly diagnosed.

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