Snoring is often the butt of many jokes. But it also affects the sleep of both the person who snores as well as those who are within earshot. Those who snore often get made fun of by their partner or may be asked to move to another room, if their partner hasn’t already done so.
But snoring is not something to take so lightly. It can actually be a sign that something is wrong and can also have some serious effects on your health.
CAUSES OF SNORING
There are multiple things that could be causing you to snore.
- Your age. As you get older, your muscles weaken, even those in your mouth. As a result, your tongue is more likely to fall back into your throat, partially blocking your airway.
- Drinking, smoking, or certain medications. These all relax your muscles, making your tongue more liable to slip back. Smoking can also irritate the airways, making them inflamed.
- Allergies can block your airway.
- A deviated septum.
- Your weight. If you are overweight, you may have a buildup of fatty tissue in your throat, which can block breathing.
- Sleep apnea. Whereas most of the above block your airway partially, sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing for a brief period of time occasionally throughout the night.
While snoring might just seem like an irritating sound that keeps your partner awake at night and gives you a sore throat in the morning, it can actually lead to more significant health issues, particularly if you suffer from sleep apnea.
- Chronic headaches.
- Sleepiness during the daytime. This can be a big problem, because excessive sleepiness can impair your reaction time as well as lead to poor performance and possible injury.
- Frequent waking. Many who suffer from snoring wake themselves up. They may also be light sleepers, as a result of trying to keep their muscles from relaxing. Waking up often can also be the result of interruptions in breathing.
- GERD. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a chronic issue in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, irritating the lining.
- Low blood oxygen levels. This can lead to high blood pressure.
- An irregular heartbeat. While this is usually not a threatening issue, when combined with sleep apnea, it can lead to severe heart problems.
- Heart problems. Aside from high blood pressure, sleep apnea can cause an enlarged heart and a greater risk for heart attack and stroke.
If you snore, don’t ignore it. It could be indicative of a larger health issue. Contact our office right away.