Often, snoring is regarded as simply annoying. For many individuals who snore, however, snoring can be a significant health concern with many associated risks. Although sleep apnea is the primary associated risk with snoring, snoring-with or without sleep apnea-should be regarded as a medical concern.
Snoring is caused by obstructed airflow during sleep. This may occur as the result of a variety of factors, such as bulky throat tissue, obstructed nasal airways, or weak muscle tone in the throat and tongue. Generally, snoring is more common among men and in those who are overweight.
Cardiovascular issues are closely tied to snoring. Researchers at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital found that snoring is associated with the thickening of the carotid arteries’ inner walls. Because these arteries carry blood to the brain, any narrowing or blockage dramatically increases your risk of stroke. Other cardiovascular issues such as elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and arrhythmias are also seen at higher rates in those who snore frequently.
Breathing and sleep-related problems are associated with snoring, particularly for snorers with sleep apnea. Sore throat, trouble concentrating, and daytime sleepiness occur frequently for people who snore. Additionally, other illnesses like gastroesophageal reflux disease are common. This is because of disordered throat closing during sleep, which causes pressure changes that can suck stomach contents back into the esophagus. Women who snore during pregnancy can experience fetal complications related to interrupted sleep. Headaches are also common among snorers, as is frequent urination during the night. Sexual dysfunction can also occur as a result of impaired sleep and relational tension with your sleeping partner.
Because snoring is considered commonplace, most people unfortunately do not pursue treatment by a medical professional. If you snore chronically, it is important to see your doctor to determine how to relieve your symptoms and treat any complications.