Lots of people snore, many with harmless effects, but there are definitely health risks associated with snoring. Let’s first examine what causes snoring.
Snoring can originate in the nasal passages, either through allergies that block the airway or because of a structural defect such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue caused by alcohol consumption or even aging can also cause snoring.
Bulky throat tissue from being overweight can also lead to snoring. Finally, a long, soft palate and/or uvula can cause vibrations as the air enters from the mouth or nose, leading to snoring.
What are the health risks associated with snoring?
Long interruptions of breathing can occur, lasting more than 10 seconds, typically associated with a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Frequent awakening from sleep can result from snoring, even if the snorer never realizes it. This can certainly jeopardize the quality of one’s sleep and the quality of one’s waking day.
A poor night’s sleep, as alluded to above, is another potential result of snoring. Low blood oxygen, leading to daytime weakness and fatigue, can also result from snoring, as can chronic headaches.
If your snoring comes from OSA, you’re susceptible to various health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems and stroke.
If you’re a chronic snorer, and not just one who snores during hay fever or allergy season, you should seek professional help. At the very least, you should broach the subject with your family physician.