You may have heard plenty of jokes about it. But the truth is, snoring is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and this condition can have some severe health implications.
What is OSA?Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway becomes partially, or even completely blocked during sleep. This causes you to temporarily stop breathing, sometimes for as long as over a minute. Symptoms of OSA include:
Accidents and InjuriesWhile snoring might not seem like a big deal, other than an annoying noise, the truth is that it can actually have some significant health implications. For one, because OSA causes daytime sleepiness and decreased awareness, your productivity is affected. You are also more likely to suffer an accident, be it at work or behind the wheel of a car.
GERDYou are also at risk for suffering from GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition causes acids from your stomach to back up into your esophagus, which can lead to irritation of the lining.
Heart ConditionsOSA can greatly increase your chances of suffering from heart conditions. For one, you may be more likely to have an irregular heartbeat. While this is a common condition among many people and is often harmless, when coupled with OSA it can lead to atrial fibrillation.
Being unable to breathe properly means that there is a lower concentration of oxygen in your blood. This can lead to a stroke.
You are also more likely to have high blood pressure or suffer from a heart attack if you have OSA.
Weight Gain and DiabetesWhile being overweight increases your chances of having OSA, because of the excess fatty tissues around your throat, having OSA makes it more difficult to lose weight. OSA can cause your body to release a hormone that makes you crave carbohydrates and sweet treats, and being overly tired all of the time makes it difficult for your body to convert those foods into energy. Instead, they convert to fat. And being overweight increases your chances of developing type II diabetes.
Snoring is no laughing matter. If you snore, or some have told you that you snore, contact our office right away. They can help you determine the cause of your snoring and therefore get you the proper treatment to stop it, helping you to protect your health.