Many people find it uncomfortable to talk about snoring because of the social stigma attached to it. Loud snoring causes sleep discomfort as well as disturbs those around you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just stop there.
Snoring also has long-term health consequences. Some of these health concerns include:
1. Cardiovascular or Heart Issues
Chronic snoring can lead to sleep apnea, which is one of the leading causes of common cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, blocked arteries, and in the long run, heart attacks.
Snoring blocks the airway passage and disrupts airflow. In fact, in the case of sleep apnea, breathing might stop for some seconds. The heart suffers from a shortage of oxygen, thereby leading to a delay in many cardiovascular functions.
In the long run, chronic snoring increases the risk of having an eventual heart attack. This is the reason why many health professionals advise using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) and other breathing devices to reduce snoring and limit its adverse effects on health.
2. Fitful Sleep
Snoring also leads to sleep deprivation in some cases or fitful sleep in others.
As a result of the breathing irregularities that happens when a person snores, snorers find it difficult to have a restful sleep. They usually experience shortness of breath and sometimes even wake up between sleep feeling out of breath.
An individual who snores is prone to suffer from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lack of energy, memory problems, moodiness, fatigue, crankiness during the day, and depression.
All these could affect both physical and mental health. This is the reason why doctors often advise patients to find suitable beds to reduce snoring and increase comfort. Check here to see the best beds for people who snore.
Another long-term health concern of snoring is arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythms.
Arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythm is a shift from or fluctuation of a person’s normal and natural heart rhythm and beat rate to irregular ones. A form of arrhythmia common to patients with sleep apnea and long-term snoring is atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation happens when there is an irregularity in the beats and rhythms of the heart’s upper and lower chambers.
Patients are advised to use the continuous positive airway pressure machine or practice positional therapy to treat arrhythmia or reduce the risk of having it.
Another health concern of snoring is the fact that snoring causes stroke, and this is due to the blockage of the air passageways when sleeping. Chronic snoring doesn’t only increase the risk of having a stroke; it may also cause carotid atherosclerosis.
Loud snoring produces strong vibrations within the body that affect the arteries, leading to carotid atherosclerosis. Carotid atherosclerosis is the narrowing of arteries within the neck region due to stroke or plaques (fatty deposits obstructing the airways.
5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Just as the cardiovascular system of a chronic snorer suffers severe damages, the intestinal and digestive system can also be affected by long term snoring.
People who snore or have sleep apnea most times have irregular breathing due to the obstructed airways. The irregularity in breathing puts pressure on the lungs, which in turn affects the gastrointestinal system.
The way the throat closes when snoring forces the stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, leading to GERD or as it’s more commonly known heartburn.
Besides, being overweight is also linked to snoring and GERD. So, it is possible that make lifestyle changes to lose weight can reduce snoring and GERD symptoms.
6. Breathing Irregularities
People who snore are prone to suffering from breathing irregularities because of the alterations snoring have on the way the throat closes when air is going in and out.
Many patients experience lengthy interruptions in breathing as a result of snoring. This affects the heart, brain, and the patient’s sleep. Therefore, if you have been finding it difficult to sleep well, snoring might be what is keeping you awake or at least what is constantly jolting you from sleep.
7. Chronic Headache
It is common knowledge that snoring offsets the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood due to the irregularities in air intake and release.
As a result, patients who snore are prone to chronic headaches when awake, due to sleep deprivation and insufficient oxygenated blood flow to the brain while asleep. Chronic headaches can also hamper daily activities and reduce quality life.
8. Pulmonary problems
Snoring also increases the risks of developing pulmonary hypertension. A healthy blood oxygen level should between the range of 94%-98%. However, chronic snoring can significantly lower oxygen blood levels, which pose a great danger to the body.
Low levels of oxygenated blood can have adverse effects on the vital organs of the body. It also has a severe impact on blood vessels, which can lead to pulmonary hypertension.
Aside from the fact that it affects your partner’s sleep, most people believe snoring is harmless. On the contrary, chronic snoring is usually a sign of underlying health issues. This is why it’s advisable for snorers to curbs the habit before more permanent damage is done.
Chronic snoring can increase the risk of heart disease, pulmonary problems, weight gain, stroke, and GERD. It can also cause sleep deprivation, constant headaches, and depression, all of which can have severe consequences for physical and mental health.