Do you know if you snore? Your answer is probably, “No, of course not.” This is because snoring is a behavior that not everyone wants to admit to. Snoring occurs in an estimated 57% of men and 40% of women in the United States.
Persistent snoring can be a major risk factor for serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disorder, and more. It can become a severe problem that can take a toll on your health, relationships, productivity, and overall quality of life.
Snoring occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and narrow the airways so that air cannot move easily through the passageway. When inhaling and exhaling becomes partially obstructed as you sleep, the vibrations make a rattling or grumbling sound we call snoring.
Symptoms of Snoring
- Morning headaches
- Dry, sore throat upon waking
- Restless sleep and drowsiness
- Your partner witnesses your snoring
Chronic, loud snoring can be a sign of a serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but not all snorers have OSA. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to several serious health problems.
See also: What Happens if Sleep Apnea is Left Untreated?
People with OSA usually experience this at least five times during every hour of sleep. In milder cases, sleep apnea can be addressed with behavioral changes, whereas severe cases can require nonsurgical and surgical treatments.
11 Long-Term Snoring Health Risks
- Lower blood oxygen levels. The average blood oxygen level your body has is about 94% – 98%. People who snore for thirty seconds or more can cause their blood oxygen level to drop to an unhealthy 80% or less.
- Fatigue during the day. People who snore and develop sleep apnea, never get a deep, peaceful sleep, only fragmented. They may experience leg twitching or tossing around in their bed and not even remember awakening during the night. This can cause extreme fatigue during the day.
- Less sexual satisfaction. A study showed that older men who snored more and louder reported lower levels of sexual satisfaction. Some people are so affected by their snoring that they do not feel the desire to be intimate with their spouse.
- Trouble concentrating. When the amount of air getting into the bloodstream during sleep is less therefore the oxygen level absorbed isn’t as high, your muscles and organs will then be O2 deficient. This will cause you to have trouble concentrating.
- Nocturia. This condition is associated with people who get up two or more times to use the restroom. For some, it includes a loss of bladder control.
- Heart attack. People with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have both non-fatal and fatal heart attacks.
- Stroke. Intense snoring is known to be related to the narrowing of the arteries in the neck (carotid artery stenosis) due to fatty deposits called plaque. This can lead to a stroke.
- High blood pressure. If sleep apnea goes untreated, it can cause your blood pressure to increase and lead to serious heart problems. As your breathing stops throughout the night and your oxygen level drops, your blood pressure will then rise.
- Type 2 diabetes. People who do not get a good night of quality sleep probably consume high-calorie, sugary foods, which can lead to weight gain. Carrying around extra pounds increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Fetal complications. Some women in their last trimester will snore due to weight gain, which increases the risk of fetal complications. It is vital to speak with your doctor if you begin to snore loudly during your pregnancy.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is common in people with sleep apnea because of the way the throat closes while air moves in and out during sleep, causing the change in pressure to suck the contents of the stomach back into the esophagus.
Snoring is an annoyance and can be disruptive, causing you to lose quality sleep, which can be a symptom of a larger problem. You can take steps to reduce snoring problems by staying healthy and active regularly. Since we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, why would you not want to have the best amount of sleep possible?
Even though snoring is common, and everyone will snore at some point in their life, loud or long-term snoring can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other serious health issues. Thankfully, snoring treatment has advanced beyond the basic responses to snoring in the past.
See also: Different Types of Snoring
If snoring problems is causing you sleepless nights and restless days, you can complete the SleepWell Louisiana home sleep assessment questionnaire to help you learn more about your sleep quality. This will aid the SleepWell team in providing you with a snoring treatment in Lafayette, LA, that can bring you the peaceful night’s sleep you deserve.
Alternatively, fill out this form if you would like to schedule an appointment with our Sleep Specialist, Dr. Maestri. The dedicated staff of SleepWell Louisiana is waiting to help you get started on your SleepWell journey to a better night’s rest.