Half the population snores at some point in their life, and 40 – 45% of adult men and 24 – 30% of women snore regularly. It may be annoying to your sleep partner, and you may wake up with a dry mouth, but is it dangerous to snore? Actually, it can be.
Let’s learn how snoring and sleep apnea impact your health.
Causes Of Snoring
We have all heard someone snore. Snoring by itself can be due to simple causes like congestion or having large tonsils. It can also be caused by drinking alcohol, being overweight, or sleeping on your back. A deviated septum is a physical cause that can be corrected by a procedure to properly align the thin line of skin between your nostrils.
An enlarged uvula, the tissue that hangs in the back of the throat, can be the culprit too.
Long story short, anything that narrows breathing passages can cause someone to snore.
What Happens During Sleep Apnea
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but if you sometimes hear that person gasp for air and wake up, this is not just snoring. This is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, and is cause for concern.
A person with obstructive sleep apnea actually stops breathing because their airway collapses or there is a blockage. This can occur five to thirty times every hour and can be dangerous to someone’s health without treatment.
Some common symptoms include the following:
- Gasping for air and choking during the night
- Tossing and turning
- Not feeling rested in the morning
- Especially loud snoring
- Waking up with a headache
How Sleep Apnea Can Impact Your Health
Two well known personalities, the actress Carrie Fisher age 60, and NFL player Reggie White, 43 died of complications from sleep apnea, so there can be a big impact if not controlled.
When the trachea is obstructed, insufficient air is breathed into the lungs, the body is deprived of oxygen, and it can’t rid itself of carbon dioxide.
According to the NIH, those with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and heart attack, diabetes, obesity, arrhythmia, and other health issues sometimes leading to death.
Those with sleep apnea find themselves with daytime sleepiness, some cognitive impairment, and have a 2 – 7 times increased risk of car crashes.
Talk with a sleep specialist about some of the best treatments for sleep apnea. Many patients use a CPAP machine which delivers a continuous and steady stream of air through a mask worn during sleep. It keeps the airway open and restores normal oxygen levels.
Contact Annapolis Asthma, Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists for a professional evaluation about whether you or someone you love has obstructive sleep apnea.