10 Most Common Health Risks Associated With Snoring

April 12, 2017

Snoring is embarrassing, inconvenient, frustrating and annoying, but, more importantly, it can be dangerous for your overall health. In fact, this tiresome habit can have an incredibly negative impact on your health, which is the most important reason why it should be addressed and treated, or at least reduced using some of the many snoring aids available on the market these days.

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1. Throat Problems

Anyone who snores knows perfectly well the kind of uncomfortable, awkward feeling in the throat you can expect after a night of snoring. All that vibration and air coming violently in and out of your throat in an unnatural way, combined with dryness that is generally associated with mouth breathing, will leave your throat irritated and scratchy, to say the least. Irritations that are repeated night after night significantly reduce your throat’s ability to ward off viruses and bacteria and make you more prone to inflammation and infection. There is also the issue of having a hoarse voice and irritated vocal cords, of course. All this combined makes it perfectly clear that snoring is in no way beneficial for your throat.

2. GERD

GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a digestive disorder caused by the weakening of the muscle that connects your stomach and your esophagus, resulting in acid reflux or heartburn. In addition to being painful and uncomfortable, this disease is also potentially dangerous, especially if it is left untreated. While snoring is not the primary cause of GERD, it is definitely a serious contributing factor. When we snore, our throat closes in an unnatural way as it lets the air in and out. These irregularities create pressure that can pull or suck the contents of your stomach back up in the esophagus, causing heartburn.

3. Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia or irregular heart beat is something that is quite often observed in people with serious, long-term snoring and especially with sleep apnea. Heavy snorers seem to suffer from arrhythmias in one form or another way more than those who do not snore or who use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Atrial fibrillation is a particularly common type of arrhythmia seen in those suffering from sleep apnea and heavy snoring. This might be because snoring, over an extended period of time, has a tendency to open and enlarge the left atrium.

4. Stroke

One of the main causes of stroke is carotid atherosclerosis, a condition in which blood vessels, especially the arteries in the neck, get clogged due to fatty deposits called plaque. The arteries narrow and become brittle, which significantly reduces their functionality. Needless to say, this is a huge health risk. Several studies have found a link between snoring and atherosclerosis, but it is uncertain whether snoring can actually cause it or is it just that the two share one common cause like obesity, for example. In any case, what we definitely know is that people who snore have a higher tendency to develop carotid atherosclerosis, which is just another reason why this problem should never be left unaddressed.

5. Heart disease

Another serious health concern that those who snore heavily should keep in mind is heart disease – coronary artery disease and hypertension or high blood pressure, to be precise. These conditions are dangerous because they can lead to heart attack, which, as we know, can be fatal. In fact, several studies have shown that those who snore heavily and for a long time, and especially those whose snoring evolved into sleep apnea, are twice as likely to have both manageable heart disease episodes and fatal heart attacks. People with sleep apnea who also have high blood pressure are strongly urged to get a CPAP machine, which effectively reduces snoring and consequently risks of developing a dangerous heart disease.

6. Injury

How is injury related to snoring? After all, we only snore when we are asleep, and how can we hurt ourselves in our sleep? Well, it’s not the nighttime injuries we are talking about here. Heavy snoring and sleep apnea have a tremendous negative impact on the quality of sleep. People who snore do not sleep well, they are continuously exhausted, even sleep-deprived. This affects their daytime motoric skills, not to mention there is a risk you might fall asleep in a situation when sleeping is absolutely out of the question, such as driving.

7. Headache

shutterstock_143846479There is nothing worse than waking up with a splitting headache. That kind of headache, that kicks in first thing in the morning, is usually going to linger throughout the day. And if you are a snorer, the following night does not necessarily bring rest and relief, because snoring affects the quality of sleep. But did you know that snoring can actually cause those morning headaches?

Every heavy snorer will tell you that after a night of intense, incessant, loud snoring, you feel absolutely drained when you wake up, and headaches are often a part of it. It has something to do with oxygen levels, which are disturbed due to irregular airflow during night, as snoring interrupts your normal breathing patterns. In any case, the more you snore, the higher the risk of waking up with a nasty headache that is going to stick with your throughout the day.

8. Mental Health Problems

Sleep deprivation is a major concern for heavy snorers. Snoring interrupts normal sleep cycles and even if you spend nine or ten hours in bed per night, you will still wake up exhausted and not at all rested. Daytime sleepiness caused by disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation (for those who have a hard time falling asleep after a particularly nasty bout of snoring) is also a significant contributor to mental issues like depression and anxiety. A good night’s sleep is essential for good mental health. This is something that psychiatry and neurology have been preaching for over a century. That’s why it’s no wonder that so many people who suffer from severe snoring and sleep apnea also have some mental issues, usually in a mild form, most commonly mild to moderate clinical depression and various types of anxiety disorder.

9. Nocturnal Urination

Nocturia is a term that describes the habit of getting up to urinate several times per night, regardless of your liquid intake. The prostate starts losing some of its functionality with age, and nocturia is most commonly observed in middle aged and elderly men. Frequent nocturnal urination may also be a sign of a bladder problem or, most commonly, some type of bladder weakness. However, it was recently found that nocturia is also more commonly observed in those who snore heavily and frequently than in those who do not. In fact, several studies have confirmed that there is a strong link between benign prostate enlargement and sleep apnea, although it is yet to be demonstrated just how and why the two are linked.

10. Fetal Risks

Long-term and heavy snoring, and especially sleep apnea, have a negative impact on almost every aspect of health, so it’s no wonder that they can also affect an unborn child. Pregnant women gain a lot of weight in a short period of time in the third trimester, and such sudden weight gain often leads to snoring. Pregnant women also often sleep on their back, which is another factor that contributes to snoring. In any case, it was found that snoring in pregnancy, if particularly intense and frequent, can affect the unborn child in a negative way. It is not yet established how precisely this effect takes place, but it has to do something with disturbed sleep patterns, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, low oxygen intake and other side effects of snoring

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