Snoring, without any other symptoms, does not usually indicate a severe health issue. After all, snoring is simply a “turbulent” flow of air through the nasal passages and the airway. This turbulence causes the soft tissues of the nose, palate, and throat to vibrate, which makes a rasping sound.
That being said, snoring can be much more than just an annoying habit. Interrupted sleep can cause restlessness, make it difficult for others to sleep around you, and indicate a bigger underlying health issue.
Snoring Can Indicate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Chronic storing is typically an indicator of a more significant issue. One of the most common issues indicated by snoring is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the throat and palate relax during sleep. This relaxation leads to sagging in the airway, which obstructs proper breathing.
These interruptions in breathing can cause poor quality sleep due to the body being unable to get the amount of oxygen that it needs. Increased blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke are severe side effects of OSA. Snoring is often the first indication of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The characteristic sounds of choking, gasping, or snorting are indications of the interruption and resumption of breathing.
Other Health Conditions Linked To Snoring and Sleep Apnea
There are several conditions linked to snoring and sleep apnea that you should be aware of if you suffer from sleep apnea. Always discuss your snoring with your doctor to ensure your body is receiving the amount of oxygen it needs while you sleep to prevent serious health issues, including the following.
The intensity of snoring has been linked to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis – the narrowing of the arteries in the neck – due to fatty deposits. The louder and longer you snore each night, the higher your long-term risk is for having a stroke.
Sleep apnea has been directly linked to cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Collected data suggests that those with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have both nonfatal heart disease events and fatal heart attacks. Clinical studies have also shown that treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) significantly reduces your heart disease risk.
Long-term snoring or sleep apnea risk can develop into an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia. Research has found that those with sleep apnea are more likely to have atrial fibrillation episodes, which is the most common type of arrhythmia. Apnea may affect the heart’s conductive system, which may enlarge the left atrium over an extended period.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is incredibly common in those suffering from sleep apnea. The two may be closely linked to how an individual’s throat closes while air moves in and out during sleep. This causes pressure changes that can suck the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. Both GERD and sleep apnea are related to being overweight. In turn, both conditions seem to ease as people return to a healthy weight.
Mental Health Issues
Not sleeping well can lead to several mental health issues. From crankiness to severe depression, the link between sleep apnea, snoring, and depression is well established. A recent study of 74 individuals suffering from snoring showed that experiencing daytime exhaustion increased an individual’s chances of having mild depression or anxiety symptoms.