Health -Related Snoring Risks

All too often snoring gets thought of as a mere nuisance during the sleeping hours that does no real potential harm other than cause annoyance for your partner. Surprisingly, however, there are actually some serious health-related snoring risks that can take a toll on a person’s health and vitality.

Even though snoring happens during sleep, it hinders one from achieving the deepest levels of sleep essential for proper brain function by disrupting the natural sleep cycle – all while rousing snorers and their partners awake several times a night to either semi or full consciousness.

With approximately 20% of the adult population, and 60% of men over the age of forty snoring regularly, the common misconception that snoring is relatively harmless needs to be reconsidered. There are some far-reaching effects snoring can have on anyone’s life—not only can it be a source of contention and resentment in a relationship, but if tolerated for an extended period of time, will likely elevate stress levels and decline health, energy, and mental clarity.

Causes of Snoring

More likely than not, snoring will be set into motion when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Here are some common factors that might contribute to blocked air flow:

• Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue: When throat and tongue muscles are too relaxed, they can collapse and fall back into the airway. This can result from deep sleep, alcohol consumption, and use of some sleeping pills (Alcohol, smoking, and some medications increase muscle relaxation allowing the flesh of the throat to relax and disrupt airflow). Smoking also irritates the nasal passages and throat muscles causing inflammation of these areas and further restriction of airflow.
• Aging: Age causes further relaxation of these various muscles.
• Sleep posture: Sleeping on the back puts you at a higher likelihood of snoring, as the tissues at the back of the throat can fall back and cause partial or complete blockage of the airways.
• Nasal and sinus problems: Seasonal allergies and sinus infections can cause swelling of the nasal passages making breathing difficult and snoring more likely. A deviated septum can also cause snoring due to an imbalance in the sizes of breathing passages. Furthermore, a severe deviated septum can lead to sleep apnea, as well as nasal polyps.
• Bulky throat tissue: Being overweight can cause bulky throat tissue. Also, children with large tonsils and adenoids will often snore as well.
• Long soft palate and/or uvula: Having a long soft palate or a long uvula narrow the opening from the nose to the throat. When these structures vibrate and bump against one another, the airway will get obstructed, leading to snoring.

Snoring Risks

A plethora of the causes of snoring (and their effects) are relatively benign and are easily remedied by simple things such as moderating one’s diet or changing sleeping posture. Still, it is important to keep in mind that snoring may also be the red flag for much more serious health issues that when left untreated can be detrimental, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Habitual snorers can also be at risk for other serious health problems, including:

• Breathing Interruptions
• Frequent waking from sleep and light sleeping
• Daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
• Strain on Heart
• Cardiac Arrhythmias or Atrial fibrillation
• Low blood oxygen levels (i.e. constricted blood vessels in the lungs and pulmonary hypertension.
• Chronic headaches
• Obesity
• GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
The primary goal at Sleep MD NYC is to help you and your bed partner receive the much-needed rest you’ll need to properly function every night and all the time. As seen from above, the potential health risks associated with frequent snoring might very well be a great cause for concern. For more information on ways to keep healthy and to rid yourself of any sleep-related problems, please reach out and contact Dr. Shukla at Sleep MD NYC to get the help and care you deserve.

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