Snoring is a common, and irritating, sleep related problem, but did you know it’s also potentially life threatening? Snoring may be a sign of some serious health problems. Such as apnea, a potentially fatal interruption of a person’s breathing during their sleep. This potentially fatal condition could convince any heavy snorer to seek treatment.
The word Apnea is Greek for the absence of breath. As the term for a medical condition, sleep apnea aptly describes how one stops breathing while they sleep. This condition often goes undetected and can potentially be deadly. This condition comes in two varieties: Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Snorers are most often affected by Obstructive Sleep Apnea, wherein the air passages become blocked during sleep, In contrast, Central Sleep Apnea is a neurological condition in which the brain misfires the signals sent to respiratory muscles during sleep.
There is a very strong link between sleep apnea and constant snoring, and plenty of medical studies to it up. When you sleep, your brain will get messages from your body describing carbon dioxide content; when your body gets this feedback, it will send back signals to tell your throat and trachea what to do to control breathing. However, Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes the air passages to be restricted or even physically blocked which in turn will impair one’s ability to breathe. These blocked air passages cause vibration in the air that passes through and this is what causes that awful noise we know as snoring. But what is happening here is that snorer repeatedly stops breathing for seconds at a time, this in turn can damage one’s health or even lead to death. Apnea can affect anyone of any age or gender, but the condition is more prevalent in older males.
Key trigger points highlighted by huge amounts of research are increasing the risk of developing apnea and snoring. Obesity or excess fat around the throat region can result in the air passages and trachea becoming restricted. Older men are more likely to suffer from apnea than women of an equivalent age. Alcohol actually relaxes muscles of the body, which includes the throat, and increases the risk of snoring; smoking causes inflammation in the upper respiratory system and narrows air passages. Health conditions such as tonsillitis and enlarged adenoids can also affect the air passages causing snoring and apnea.
While you may not die from sleep apnea, you should still take into account other potentially devastating risks. Staring your brain of oxygen can cause exhaustion, poor concentration and generally low levels of mental alertness, This can also cause carbon dioxide to build up in the brain increasing the chance of heart attack or stroke. Finding a way to stop your snoring can offer you a better, healthier and overall longer life.