Snoring may seem like nothing more than mild irritation, but if your snoring is caused by sleep apnea, it can lead to even greater medical complications that can pose serious risks to your health – even greater than the risk of your spouse smothering you in the night with a pillow. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, people with severe sleep apnea are over 40% more likely to die early than their peers.
While it’s important to remember that just because you snore does not automatically mean you have sleep apnea, the risks associated with sleep apnea are considerable enough that it is in your best interest to consult your doctor and find out for sure. And if you feel as if consulting with a doctor is too expensive, then perhaps a snoring mouthpiece such as the SnoreRX may help.
Here are some of the major problems caused by sleep apnea-related snoring:
Intense snoring can be related to carotid atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to a buildup of fatty deposits called “plaque.” This in turn puts you at a greater risk of a stroke.
Sleep apnea is also related to cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, and these issues are in turn highly correlated with increased risk of heart attacks.
In addition, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. The most common type of arrhythmia for people with sleep apnea is atrial fibrillation. This may be because obstructive sleep apnea seems to enlarge the left atrium of the heart over an extended period of time.
People with sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This maybe be because the disorderly way in which the throat closes when air moves in an out during sleep can lead to pressure changes which essentially pump the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus.
If you get up more than two times a night to urinate, you may also suffer from a condition called nocturia. Research has linked nocturia with snoring in both men and women, and particularly in men over the age of 55, where a correlation between obstructive sleep apnea and enlarged prostates has been shown.
Medical researchers have found a connection between frequent morning headaches and sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea.
Of course, there’s one obvious problem caused by sleep apnea that has profound impacts on just about every aspect of life, and that problem is:
It should come as no surprise that if you’re not getting sufficient oxygen when you’re sleeping, you’re not going to get very restful sleep. The importance of getting adequate sleep cannot be understated. Sleep deprivation can lead to such problems as:
Indirectly, of course; if you’re more tired during the day, you won’t be able to focus as well, and this can lead to you making more careless mistakes. Such mistakes can be extremely costly, especially when you’re driving.
Mental Health Issues
The long-term result of sleep deprivation goes beyond crankiness – it can lead to serious depression, which can wreak havoc in all other areas of your life. To make matters worse, depression often leads to changes in sleeping habits, resulting in a self-reinforcing cycle.
Less Sexual Satisfaction
A study of 827 older men revealed a correlation between severe snoring and lower reported levels of sexual satisfaction, even when there were no physiological signs of reduced sexual response. That makes sense when you consider that snoring can not only lead to sleep deprivation for you, but for your spouse, who will probably not have much interest in sex either.
This all sounds very dire, but fortunately sleep apnea is a fairly easy problem to solve, especially if you seek help from trained medical professionals. Sleep apnea can be solved through surgery or anti-snoring devices like mouthpieces, or simply through losing weight, leading a healthier lifestyle, and even simply changing sleeping position.