You – and your partner – may think of your snoring as an annoyance, but nothing to be concerned about. In some cases, however, snoring can be a problem that creates some serious health risks.
In this blog, the sleep specialists at eos sleep explain more about how and when snoring can become a problem.
What causes snoring?
The sound you produce when you snore occurs because the flow of air through your mouth and nose is physically obstructed in some way when you breathe at night. The more narrowed your airway becomes, the louder your snoring also becomes as the vibration of your tissues increases.
Your breathing can become obstructed because of one or more of the following:
- Poor muscle tone in your throat and tongue: If these muscles become too relaxed, they can collapse into the airway. Poor muscle tone can occur because of aging, deep sleep, or by using alcohol or sleeping pills.
- Nasal obstruction: Chronic sinusitis can obstruct your airways enough to cause snoring. Structural abnormalities such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum can also cause enough of an obstruction to make you snore.
- Bulky throat tissue: Being overweight can make your throat tissue bulkier and more likely to block your airways.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula: These structures can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat if they’re too long. They can vibrate against one another, causing you to snore.
What are some of the health risks associated with snoring?
Chronic loud snoring is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes your breathing to pause repeatedly throughout the night, which can cause the following health risks:
- Poor sleep quality: As you temporarily stop breathing, you move from a deep stage of sleep into a light one. This causes the quality of your sleep to be poor and less restorative. You may also awaken frequently throughout the night, even though you may not realize it. You’re likely to feel tired during the day.
- Increased risk of accidents: Since you feel habitually sleepy during the day, you have a greater risk of causing an accident while you’re driving or on the job.
- Strain on your cardiovascular system: As your blood, brain, and body are deprived of enough oxygen when you repeatedly stop breathing, this takes a toll on your cardiovascular system. You’re at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, or an enlarged heart. You’re also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
- Chronic headaches: The oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood are altered as you stop and start breathing at night. This can cause chronic morning headaches.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
A sleep study, a non-invasive test that measures and records what happens to your body as you sleep, is needed to diagnose sleep apnea. This painless test measures your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, movements, and more as you sleep.
Based on this data, your doctor will be able to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Many different types of treatment are available for sleep apnea, starting with lifestyle changes such as losing weight.
In addition, several non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments, as well as in-patient and out-patient surgeries, are available to treat sleep apnea.
If you snore, make an appointment with the sleep specialists at eos sleep today by calling 1-212-873-6036. We offer customized treatments for sleep apnea and will provide the least-invasive treatment needed to restore your restful sleep and improve your health.